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Live-cell fluorescence imaging reveals high stoichiometry of Grb2 binding to the EGF receptor sustained during endocytosis.


ABSTRACT: Activation of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) leads to its interaction with Grb2, a dual-function adapter mediating both signaling through Ras and receptor endocytosis. We used time-lapse three-dimensional imaging by spinning disk confocal microscopy to analyze trafficking of EGFR and Grb2 in living HeLa cells stimulated with low, physiological concentrations of EGFR ligands. Endogenous Grb2 was replaced in these cells by Grb2 fused to yellow fluorescent protein (YFP). After transient residence in the plasma membrane, Rhodamine-conjugated EGF (EGF-Rh) and Grb2-YFP were rapidly internalized and accumulated in endosomes. Quantitative image analysis revealed that on average two Grb2-YFP molecules were colocalized with one EGF-Rh in cells stimulated with 2 ng/ml EGF-Rh, and the excess of Grb2-YFP over EGF-Rh was even higher when a receptor-saturating concentration of EGF-Rh was used. Therefore, we hypothesize that a single EGFR molecule can be simultaneously associated with functionally distinct Grb2 interaction partners during and after endocytosis. Continuous presence of Grb2-YFP in endosomes was also observed when EGFR was activated by transforming growth factor-α and amphiregulin, suggesting that endosomal EGFRs remain ligand occupied and signaling competent, despite the fact that these growth factors are thought to dissociate from the receptor at acidic pH. The prolonged localization and activity of EGFR-Grb2 complexes in endosomes correlated with the sustained activation of extracellular stimulus-regulated kinase 1/2, suggesting that endosomal EGFRs contribute significantly to this signaling pathway. We propose that endosomal EGFRs function to extend signaling in time and space to compensate for rapid downregulation of surface EGFRs in cells with low receptor expression levels.

SUBMITTER: Fortian A 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3889400 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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