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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1200; doi:10.3390/ijms17081200

Non-Ligand-Induced Dimerization is Sufficient to Initiate the Signalling and Endocytosis of EGF Receptor

Department of Medical Genetics and Signal Transduction Research Group, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H7, Canada
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Academic Editor: Ritva Tikkanen
Received: 6 June 2016 / Revised: 13 July 2016 / Accepted: 19 July 2016 / Published: 25 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology)
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Abstract

The binding of epidermal growth factor (EGF) to EGF receptor (EGFR) stimulates cell mitogenesis and survival through various signalling cascades. EGF also stimulates rapid EGFR endocytosis and its eventual degradation in lysosomes. The immediate events induced by ligand binding include receptor dimerization, activation of intrinsic tyrosine kinase and autophosphorylation. However, in spite of intensified efforts, the results regarding the roles of these events in EGFR signalling and internalization is still very controversial. In this study, we constructed a chimeric EGFR by replacing its extracellular domain with leucine zipper (LZ) and tagged a green fluorescent protein (GFP) at its C-terminus. We showed that the chimeric LZ-EGFR-GFP was constitutively dimerized. The LZ-EGFR-GFP dimer autophosphorylated each of its five well-defined C-terminal tyrosine residues as the ligand-induced EGFR dimer does. Phosphorylated LZ-EGFR-GFP was localized to both the plasma membrane and endosomes, suggesting it is capable of endocytosis. We also showed that LZ-EGFR-GFP activated major signalling proteins including Src homology collagen-like (Shc), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and Akt. Moreover, LZ-EGFR-GFP was able to stimulate cell proliferation. These results indicate that non-ligand induced dimerization is sufficient to activate EGFR and initiate cell signalling and EGFR endocytosis. We conclude that receptor dimerization is a critical event in EGF-induced cell signalling and EGFR endocytosis. View Full-Text
Keywords: EGF receptors; endocytosis; signal transduction; leucine zipper; dimerization EGF receptors; endocytosis; signal transduction; leucine zipper; dimerization
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Kourouniotis, G.; Wang, Y.; Pennock, S.; Chen, X.; Wang, Z. Non-Ligand-Induced Dimerization is Sufficient to Initiate the Signalling and Endocytosis of EGF Receptor. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1200.

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