Modulating the structure of EGFR with UV light: new possibilities in cancer therapy.
ABSTRACT: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a member of the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases. EGFR is activated upon binding to e.g. epidermal growth factor (EGF), leading to cell survival, proliferation and migration. EGFR overactivation is associated with tumor progression. We have previously shown that low dose UVB illumination of cancer cells overexpressing EGFR prior to adding EGF halted the EGFR signaling pathway. We here show that UVB illumination of the extracellular domain of EGFR (sEGFR) induces protein conformational changes, disulphide bridge breakage and formation of tryptophan and tyrosine photoproducts such as dityrosine, N-formylkynurenine and kynurenine. Fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism and thermal studies confirm the occurrence of conformational changes. An immunoassay has confirmed that UVB light induces structural changes in the EGF binding site. A monoclonal antibody which competes with EGF for binding sEGFR was used. We report clear evidence that UVB light induces structural changes in EGFR that impairs the correct binding of an EGFR specific antibody that competes with EGF for binding EGFR, confirming that the 3D structure of the EGFR binding domain suffered conformational changes upon UV illumination. The irradiance used is in the same order of magnitude as the integrated intensity in the solar UVB range. The new photonic technology disables a key receptor and is most likely applicable to the treatment of various types of cancer, alone or in combination with other therapies.
Project description:Antibodies have been widely used for cancer therapy owing to their ability to distinguish cancer cells by recognizing cancer-specific antigens. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a promising target for the cancer therapeutics, against which several antibody clones have been developed and brought into therapeutic use. Another antibody clone, 528, is an antagonistic anti-EGFR antibody, which has been the focus of our antibody engineering studies to develop cancer drugs. In this study, we explored the interaction of 528 with the extracellular region of EGFR (sEGFR) via binding analyses and structural studies. Dot blotting experiments with heat treated sEGFR and surface plasmon resonance binding experiments revealed that 528 recognizes the tertiary structure of sEGFR and exhibits competitive binding to sEGFR with EGF and cetuximab. Single particle analysis of the sEGFR-528 Fab complex via electron microscopy clearly showed the binding of 528 to domain III of sEGFR, the domain to which EGF and cetuximab bind, explaining its antagonistic activity. Comparison between the two-dimensional class average and the cetuximab/sEGFR crystal structure revealed that 528 binds to a site that is shifted from, rather than identical to, the cetuximab epitope, and may exclude known drug-resistant EGFR mutations.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) and their cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases play important roles in cell proliferation and signaling. The EGFR extracellular domain (sEGFR) forms a dimer upon the binding of ligands, such as epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor ? (TGF?). In this study, multiple molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the 2:2 EGF·sEGFR3-512 dimer and the 2:2 TGF?·sEGFR3-512 dimer were performed in solvent and crystal environments. The simulations of systems comprising up to half a million atoms reveal part of the structural dynamics of which sEGFR dimers are capable. The solvent simulations consistently exhibited a prominent conformational relaxation from the initial crystal structures on the nanosecond time scale, leading to symmetry breaking and more extensive contacts between the two sEGFR monomers. In the crystal control simulation, this symmetry breaking and compaction was largely suppressed by crystal packing contacts. The simulations also provided evidence that the disordered domain IV of sEGFR may act as a stabilizing spacer in the dimer. Thus, the simulations suggest that the sEGFR dimer can take diverse configurations in solvent environments. These biologically relevant conformations of the EGFR signal transduction network can be controlled by contacts among the structural domains of sEGFR and its ligands.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its receptor (EGFR) constitute a principal growth-promoting pathway in endometrial cancer cells. Pre-clinical studies were undertaken to compare the expression of EGFR isoforms and the downstream effects of activating or blocking EGFR function in Ishikawa H cells, derived from a moderately differentiated type I endometrioid adenocarcinoma, or in Hec50co cells, derived from a poorly differentiated type II adenocarcinoma with papillary serous sub-differentiation.We investigated whether EGFR mutations are present in the tyrosine kinase domain (exons 18-22) of EGFR and also whether EGFR isoforms are expressed in the Ishikawa H or Hec50co cell lines. Sequence of the EGFR tyrosine kinase domain proved to be wild type in both cell lines. While both cell lines expressed full-length EGFR (isoform A), EGFR and sEGFR (isoform D) were expressed at significantly lower levels in Hec50co cells compared to Ishikawa H cells. Analysis of gene expression following EGF vs. gefitinib treatment (a small molecule EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor) was performed. Early growth response 1, sphingosine kinase 2, dual specificity phosphatase 6, and glucocorticoid receptor DNA binding factor 1 are members of a cluster of genes downstream of EGFR that are differentially regulated by treatment with EGF compared to gefitinib in Ishikawa H cells, but not in Hec50co cells.Type I Ishikawa H and type II Hec50co endometrial carcinoma cells both express EGFR and sEGFR, but differ markedly in their responsiveness to the EGFR inhibitor gefitinib. This difference is paralleled by differences in the expression of sEGFR and EGFR, as well as in their transcriptional response following treatment with either EGF or gefitinib. The small cluster of differently regulated genes reported here in these type I vs. type II endometrial cancer-derived cell lines may identify candidate biomarkers useful for predicting sensitivity to EGFR blockade.
Project description:Assessment of biological diagnostic factors providing clinically-relevant information to guide physician decision-making are still needed for diseases with poor outcomes, such as non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a promising molecule in the clinical management of NSCLC. While the EGFR transmembrane form has been extensively investigated in large clinical trials, the soluble, circulating EGFR isoform (sEGFR), which may have a potential clinical use, has rarely been considered. This study investigates the use of sEGFR as a potential diagnostic biomarker for NSCLC and also characterizes the biological function of sEGFR to clarify the molecular mechanisms involved in the course of action of this protein. Plasma sEGFR levels from a heterogeneous cohort of 37 non-advanced NSCLC patients and 54 healthy subjects were analyzed by using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The biological function of sEGFR was analyzed in vitro using NSCLC cell lines, investigating effects on cell proliferation and migration. We found that plasma sEGFR was significantly decreased in the NSCLC patient group as compared to the control group (median value: 48.6 vs. 55.6 ng/mL respectively; p = 0.0002). Moreover, we demonstrated that sEGFR inhibits growth and migration of NSCLC cells in vitro through molecular mechanisms that included perturbation of EGF/EGFR cell signaling and holoreceptor internalization. These data show that sEGFR is a potential circulating biomarker with a physiological protective role, providing a first approach to the functional role of the soluble isoform of EGFR. However, the impact of these data on daily clinical practice needs to be further investigated in larger prospective studies.
Project description:Microarrays were used to analyze differential gene expression and to help determine the efficacy of Iressa (gefitinib), a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, on endometrial cancer cells. Type I Ishikawa H and type II Hec50co endometrial carcinoma cells both express EGFR and sEGFR, but differ markedly in their responsiveness to the EGFR inhibitor gefitinib. This difference is paralleled by differences in the expression of sEGFR and EGFR, as well as in their transcriptional response following treatment with either EGFor gefitinib. The small cluster of differently regulated genes reported here in these type I vs. type II endometrial cancer-derived cell lines may identify candidate biomarkers useful for predicting sensitivity to EGFR blockade. Type I (Ishikawa H cells) and type II (Hec50co) derived endometrial carcinomas, were dosed with either EGF(epidermal growth factor) or Iressa (gefitinib) for 12 or 24 hours and gene expression was examined.
Project description:The activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is crucial for triggering diverse cellular functions, including cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation, and up-regulation of EGFR expression or activity is a key factor in triggering the development of cancer. Here we show that overexpression of a scaffold protein, tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNF-R)-associated factor 4 (TRAF4), promotes EGF-induced autophosphorylation of EGFR (activation) and downstream signaling, whereas TRAF4 deficiency attenuates EGFR activation and EGF-driven cell proliferation. Using structure-based sequence alignment and NMR spectroscopy, we identified a TRAF4 binding site in the C-terminal half of the juxtamembrane (JM) segment of EGFR, a region known to promote asymmetric dimerization and subsequent activation. Deletion of the TRAF4 binding site led to dramatic defects in EGFR activation and EGF-driven cell proliferation. Specific point mutations in the TRAF4 binding site also resulted in significant attenuation of EGFR activation. Detailed structural examination of the inactive versus active forms of EGFR suggests that TRAF4 binding probably induces a conformational rearrangement of the JM region to promote EGFR dimerization. These results identify a novel mechanism of TRAF4-mediated EGFR activation and signaling.
Project description:Serum levels of the soluble epidermal growth factor receptor (sEGFR) and its ligands epidermal growth factor (EGF), transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) and amphiregulin (AR) were measured in healthy donors and patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and head and neck carcinoma (HNC). In NSCLC, we found sEGFR and EGF levels significantly lowered in patients with respect to healthy donors. In HNC patients, significantly diminished levels were found in the case of sEGFR, EGF and also AR. In both malignancies, no significant association was found between the serum levels of the molecules and the patients' gender, age or smoking habit. Only a significant association was found between the decrease of sEGFR and the absence of distant metastasis in NSCLC and the tumour stage in HNC. The most interesting result was that combining sEGFR and EGF, sensitivities of 88% in NSCLC and 100% in HNC were reached without losing specificity (97.8% in both cases). The use of discriminant analysis and logistic regression improved the sensitivity for NSCLC and the specificity for HNC. These data demonstrate a potentially interesting value of the serum levels of sEGFR and EGF, especially when combined, as markers for NSCLC and HNC.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) activation by growth factors (GFs) relies on dimerization and allosteric activation of its intrinsic kinase activity, resulting in trans-phosphorylation of tyrosines on its C-terminal tail. While structural and biochemical studies identified this EGF-induced allosteric activation, imaging collective EGFR activation in cells and molecular dynamics simulations pointed at additional catalytic EGFR activation mechanisms. To gain more insight into EGFR activation mechanisms in living cells, we develop a Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based conformational EGFR indicator (CONEGI) using genetic code expansion that reports on conformational transitions in the EGFR activation loop. Comparing conformational transitions, self-association and auto-phosphorylation of CONEGI and its Y845F mutant reveals that Y845 phosphorylation induces a catalytically active conformation in EGFR monomers. This conformational transition depends on EGFR kinase activity and auto-phosphorylation on its C-terminal tail, generating a looped causality that leads to autocatalytic amplification of EGFR phosphorylation at low EGF dose.
Project description:Aberrant activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a prototypic receptor tyrosine kinase, is critical to the biology of many common cancers. The molecular events that define how EGFR transmits an extracellular ligand binding event through the membrane are not understood. Here we use a chemical tool, bipartite tetracysteine display, to report on ligand-specific conformational changes that link ligand binding and kinase activation for full-length EGFR on the mammalian cell surface. We discover that EGF binding is communicated to the cytosol through formation of an antiparallel coiled coil within the intracellular juxtamembrane (JM) domain. This conformational transition is functionally coupled to receptor activation by EGF. In contrast, TGF? binding is communicated to the cytosol through formation of a discrete, alternative helical interface. These findings suggest that the JM region can differentially decode extracellular signals and transmit them to the cell interior. Our results provide new insight into how EGFR communicates ligand-specific information across the membrane.
Project description:Proteins encoded by the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR/HER1/ERBB1) gene are being studied as diagnostic, prognostic, and theragnostic biomarkers for numerous human cancers. The clinical application of these tissue/tumor biomarkers has been limited, in part, by discordant results observed for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expression using different immunological reagents. Previous studies have used EGFR-directed antibodies that cannot distinguish between full-length and soluble EGFR (sEGFR) expression. We have generated and characterized an anti-sEGFR polyclonal antiserum directed against a 31-mer peptide (residues 604-634) located within the unique 78-amino acid carboxy-terminal sequence of sEGFR. Here, we use this antibody to demonstrate that sEGFR is coexpressed with EGFR in a number of carcinoma-derived cell lines. In addition, we show that a second protein of ~140 kDa (p140) also is detected by this antibody. Rigorous biochemical characterization identifies this second protein to be ?5-integrin. We show that a 26-amino acid peptide in the calf domain of ?5-integrin (residues 710-735) is 35% identical in sequence with a 31-mer carboxy-terminal sEGFR peptide and exhibits an approximately 5-fold lower affinity for anti-sEGFR than the homologous 31-mer sEGFR peptide does. We conclude that the carboxy terminus of sEGFR and the calf-1 domain of ?5-integrin share a region of sequence identity, which results in their mutual immunological reactivity with anti-sEGFR. We also demonstrate that anti-sEGFR promotes three-dimensional tissue cohesion and compaction in vitro, further suggesting a functional link between sEGFR and ?5-integrin and a role of the calf-1 domain in cell adhesion. These results have implications for the study of both EGFR and sEGFR as cancer biomarkers and also provide new insight into the mechanisms of interaction between cell surface EGFR isoforms and integrins in complex processes such as cell adhesion and survival signaling.