Ligand Density and Nanoparticle Clustering Cooperate in the Multivalent Amplification of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Activation.
ABSTRACT: Multivalent presentation of ligands on nanoparticles (NPs) is considered a general strategy for enhancing receptor binding and activation through amplification of ligand-receptor interactions within the footprint of the individual NPs. The spatial clustering of ligand-functionalized NPs represents an additional, less well understood mechanism for increasing local ligand-receptor interactions, especially for receptors that form higher-order assemblies, such as the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR). To shed light on the interplay between ligand density ( i.e., multivalency) and NP clustering in signal amplification, we apply EGF-functionalized 72 ± 1 nm gold nanoparticles (NP-EGF) with known ligand loading (10-200 EGF/NP) as quantifiable and experimentally tractable units of EGFR activation and characterize the NP-mediated amplification of EGFR phosphorylation as a function of both EGF surface density and NP-EGF clustering for two cancer cell lines (HeLa and MDA-MB-468). The measurements confirm a strong multivalent amplification of EGFR phosphorylation through NP-EGF on the cellular level that results in EGF-loading-dependent maximum EGFR phosphorylation levels. A microscopic analysis of NP-EGF-induced EGFR phosphorylation reveals a heterogeneous spatial distribution of EGFR activation across the cell surface. Clustering of multivalent NP-EGF on sub-diffraction-limited length scales is found to result in a local enhancement of EGFR phosphorylation in signaling "hot spots" from where the signal can spread laterally in an EGF-independent fashion. Increasing EGF loadings of the NP enhances NP-EGF clustering and intensifies EGFR phosphorylation. These observations suggest that NP-EGF clustering and the associated local enhancement of ligand-receptor interactions are intrinsic components of the multivalent amplification of phosphorylation for the heterogeneously distributed EGFR through NP-EGF.
Project description:Upon activation, the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor becomes phosphorylated and triggers a vast signaling network that has profound effects on cell growth. The EGF receptor is observed to assemble into clusters after ligand binding and tyrosine kinase autophosphorylation, but the role of these assemblies in the receptor signaling pathway remains unclear. To address this question, we measured the phosphorylation of EGFR when the EGF ligand was anchored onto laterally mobile and immobile surfaces. We found that cells generated clusters of ligand-receptor complex on mobile EGF surfaces, and displayed a lower ratio of phosphorylated EGFR to EGF when compared to immobilized EGF that is unable to cluster. This result was verified by tuning the lateral assembly of ligand-receptor complexes on the surface of living cells using patterned supported lipid bilayers. Nanoscale metal lines fabricated into the supported membrane constrained lipid diffusion and EGF receptor assembly into micron and sub-micron scale corrals. Single cell analysis indicated that clustering impacts EGF receptor activation, and larger clusters (>1 ?m(2)) of ligand-receptor complex generated lower EGF receptor phosphorylation per ligand than smaller assemblies (<1 ?m(2)) in HCC1143 cells that were engaged to ligand-functionalized surfaces. We investigated the mechanism of EGFR clustering by treating cells with compounds that disrupt the cytoskeleton (Latrunculin B), clathrin-mediated endocytosis (Pitstop2), and inhibit EGFR activation (Gefitinib). These results help elucidate the nature of large-scale EGFR clustering, thus underscoring the general significance of receptor spatial organization in tuning biochemical function.
Project description:The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase is generally considered to be activated by either ligand-induced dimerisation or a ligand-induced conformational change within pre-formed dimers. Ligand-induced higher-order EGFR oligomerisation or clustering has been reported but it is not clear how EGFR oligomers, as distinct from EGFR dimers, influence signaling outputs. To address this question, we combined measures of receptor clustering (microscopy; image correlation spectroscopy) and phosphorylation (Western blots) with modelling of mass-action chemical kinetics. A stable BaF/3 cell-line that contains a high proportion (>90%) of inactive dimers of EGFR-eGFP but no secreted ligand and no other detectable ErbB receptors was used as the model cell system. EGF at concentrations of greater than 1 nM was found to cluster EGFR-eGFP dimers into higher-order complexes and cause parallel increases in EGFR phosphorylation. The kinetics of EGFR clustering and phosphorylation were both rapid, plateauing within 2 minutes after stimulation with 30 nM EGF. A rule-based model was formulated to interpret the data. This model took into account ligand binding, ligand-induced conformational changes in the cytosolic tail, monomer-dimer-trimer-tetramer transitions via ectodomain- and kinase-mediated interactions, and phosphorylation. The model predicts that cyclic EGFR tetramers are the predominant phosphorylated species, in which activated receptor dimers adopt a cyclic side-by-side orientation, and that receptor kinase activation is stabilised by the intramolecular interactions responsible for cyclic tetramerization.
Project description:Filopodia have been hypothesized to act as remote sensors of the cell environment, but many details of the sensor function remain unclear. We investigated the distribution of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) density on filopodia and on the dorsal cell membrane of A431 human epidermoid carcinoma cells using a nanoplasmonic enabled imaging tool. We targeted cell surface EGFR with 40 nm diameter Au nanoparticles (NPs) using a high affinity multivalent labeling strategy and determined relative NP binding affinities spatially resolved through plasmon coupling. Distance-dependent near-field interactions between the labels generated a NP density (?)-dependent spectral response that facilitated a spatial mapping of the EGFR density distribution on subcellular length scales in an optical microscope in solution. The measured ? values were significantly higher on filopodia than on the cellular surface, which is indicative of an enrichment of EGFR on filopodia. A detailed characterization of the spatial distribution of the NP immunolabels through scanning electron microscopy (SEM) confirmed the findings of the all-optical plasmon coupling studies and provided additional structural details. The NPs exhibited a preferential association with the sides of the filopodia. We calibrated the ?-dependent spectral response of the Au immunolabels through correlation of optical spectroscopy and SEM. The experimental dependence of the measured plasmon resonance wavelength (?(res)) of the interacting immunolabels on ? was well described by the fit ?(res) = 595.0 nm - 46.36 nm exp(-?/51.48) for ? ? 476 NPs/?m(2). The performed correlated spectroscopic/SEM studies pave the way toward quantitative immunolabeling studies of EGFR and other important cell surface receptors in an optical microscope.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor receptors play an important role in airway epithelial cell growth and differentiation. The current study investigates the expression profiles of EGF, EGFR and ERBB4 in patients with nasal polyps (NP), and their response to glucocorticosteroid (GC) treatment. Fifty patients with NP (40 without GC treatment and 10 with oral GC) and 20 control subjects with septal deviation were recruited into the study. Protein levels of EGF, EGFR, and ERBB4 were evaluated by immune-staining. In healthy nasal epithelium, EGF and EGFR localized within p63+ basal cells, while ERBB4 localized within ciliated cells. GC-naïve NP epithelium showed weak expression of EGF in 90% of samples versus 5% of controls. EGFR was significantly increased in the epithelium with basal cell hyperplasia from GC-naïve NPs (78%, 31/40) compared to controls (23%, 4/17). EGFR was also found in some degranulating goblet cells. ERBB4 expression was significantly higher in hyperplastic epithelium from GC-naïve NPs (65%, 26/40) than in controls (6%, 1/17). GC treatment restored the EGF expression and normalized the EGFR and ERBB4 expression in NPs. Differential expression patterns of EGF, EGFR, and ERBB4 are essential in epithelial restitution and remodeling in nasal epithelium.
Project description:It is becoming increasingly clear that intracellular signaling can be subject to strict spatial control. As the covalent attachment of a signaling ligand to a nanoparticle (NP) impacts ligand-receptor binding, uptake, and trafficking, nanoconjugation provides new opportunities for manipulating intracellular signaling in a controlled fashion. To establish the effect of nanoconjugation on epidermal growth factor (EGF) mediated signaling, we investigate here the intracellular fate of nanoconjugated EGF (NP-EGF) and its bound receptor (EGFR) by quantitative correlated darkfield/fluorescence microscopy and density-based endosomal fractionation. We demonstrate that nanoconjugation prolongs the dwell time of phosphorylated receptors in the early endosomes and that the retention of activated EGFR in the early endosomes is accompanied by an EGF mediated apoptosis at effective concentrations that do not induce apoptosis in the case of free EGF. Overall, these findings indicate nanoconjugation as a rational strategy for modifying signaling that acts by modulating the temporo-spatial distribution of the activated EGF-EGFR ligand-receptor complex.
Project description:The successful use of targeted radionuclide therapy in the treatment of solid tumours may be limited by radioresistance, which necessitates delivery of a high dose of radioactivity. Nanoparticle (NP)-based delivery systems possess a large surface area for attachment of radioisotopes and so offer a solution to this challenge. However, tumour uptake may be limited by rapid hepatic clearance of NP via the mononuclear phagocyte system. Liver uptake is further compounded when epidermal growth factor (EGF) is used as a targeting ligand, as EGF-tagged NP bind the EGF receptor (EGFR), which is expressed to a moderate extent by hepatocytes. This report describes an indium-111 (111In)-labelled PEGylated EGF-tagged gold (Au) NP (111In-EGF-Au-PEG) and an effective strategy of coadministration of targeting ligand to address these issues. Direct attachment of EGF to the surface of Au NP did not compromise surface coating with long-chain PEG. In vitro experiments showed that 111In-EGF-Au-PEG targets EGFR-positive cancer cells (MDA-MB-468): >11% of radioactivity was internalised after incubation for 4 h. In in vivo studies accumulation of NP was observed in MDA-MB-468 xenografts and tumour uptake was enhanced by the coadministration of 15 µg of the unlabelled targeting ligand, EGF, to block hepatic EGFR. Uptake was 3.9% versus 2.8% injected dose/g (%ID/g) of tumour tissue with and without unlabelled EGF, respectively. Coadministration of EGF reduced liver uptake by 25.95% to 7.56 %ID/g. This suggests that the coadministration of unlabelled targeting ligand with radiolabelled PEGylated NP offers a promising strategy for targeting EGFR-positive cancer and for minimising liver uptake.
Project description:Previously, it was shown that a novel 4-(N)-stearoyl gemcitabine nanoparticle formulation was more effective than gemcitabine hydrochloride in controlling the growth of model mouse or human tumors pre-established in mice. In the present study, the feasibility of targeting the stearoyl gemcitabine nanoparticles (GemC18-NPs) into tumor cells that over-express epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) to more effectively control tumor growth was evaluated. EGFR is over-expressed in a variety of tumor cells, and EGF is a known natural ligand of EGFR. Recombinant murine EGF was conjugated onto the GemC18-NPs. The ability of the EGF to target the GemC18-NPs to human breast adenocarcinoma cells that expressed different levels of EGFR was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. In culture, the extent to which the EGF-conjugated GemC18-NPs were taken up by tumor cells was correlated to the EGFR density on the tumor cells, whereas the uptake of untargeted GemC18-NPs exhibited no difference among those same cell lines. The relative cytotoxicity of the EGF-conjugated GemC18-NPs to tumor cells in culture was correlated to EGFR expression as well. In vivo, EGFR-over-expressing MDA-MB-468 tumors in mice treated with the EGF-conjugated GemC18-NPs grew significantly slower than in mice treated with untargeted GemC18-NPs, likely due to that the EGF-GemC18-NPs were more anti-proliferative, anti-angiogenic, and pro-apoptotic. Fluorescence intensity data from ex vivo imaging showed that the EGF on the nanoparticles helped increase the accumulation of the GemC18-NPs into MDA-MB-468 tumors pre-established in mice by more than 2-fold as compared to the un-targeted GemC18-NPs. In conclusion, active targeting of the GemC18-NPs into EGFR-over-expressed tumors can further enhance their anti-tumor activity.
Project description:Signaling from the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) via phosphorylation on its C-terminal tyrosine residues requires self-association, which depends on the diffusional properties of the receptor and its density in the plasma membrane. Dimerization is a key event for EGFR activation, but the role of higher order clustering is unknown. We employed single particle tracking to relate the mobility and aggregation of EGFR to its signaling activity. EGFR mobility alternates between short-lived free, confined and immobile states. In the immobile state, EGFR tends to aggregate in clathrin-coated pits, which is further enhanced in a phosphorylation-dependent manner and does not require ligand binding. EGFR phosphorylation is further amplified by cross-phosphorylation in clathrin-coated pits. Because phosphorylated receptors can escape from the pits, local gradients of signaling active EGFR are formed. These results show that amplification of EGFR phosphorylation by receptor clustering in clathrin-coated pits supports signal activation at the plasma membrane.
Project description:The epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor is a member of the ErbB family of receptors that also includes ErbB2, ErbB3, and ErbB4. These receptors form homo- and heterodimers in response to ligand with ErbB2 being the preferred dimerization partner. Here we use (125)I-EGF binding to quantitate the interaction of the EGF receptor with ErbB2. We show that the EGFR/ErbB2 heterodimer binds EGF with a 7-fold higher affinity than the EGFR homodimer. Because it cannot bind a second ligand, the EGFR/ErbB2 heterodimer is not subject to ligand-induced dissociation caused by the negatively cooperative binding of EGF to the second site on the EGFR homodimer. This increases the stability of the heterodimer relative to the homodimer and is associated with enhanced and prolonged EGF receptor autophosphorylation. These effects are independent of the kinase activity of ErbB2 but require back-to-back dimerization of the EGF receptor with ErbB2. Back-to-back dimerization is also required for phosphorylation of ErbB2. These findings provide a molecular explanation for the apparent preference of the EGF receptor for dimerizing with ErbB2 and suggest that the phosphorylation of ErbB2 occurs largely in the context of the EGFR/ErbB2 heterodimer, rather than through lateral phosphorylation of isolated ErbB2 subunits.
Project description:The oncoprotein ErbB2 is frequently overexpressed in human tumours, but no activating ErbB2-specific ligand has yet been identified. Here we analyse the catalytic and oligomeric behaviour of ErbB2 using phosphorylation-state-specific antibodies which distinguish kinase-active and -inactive ErbB2 receptor subsets. Heregulin-alpha (HRG) activates ErbB2 in G8/DHFR 3T3 cells by selectively inducing hetero-oligomerization with kinase-defective ErbB3, indicating that heterologous transphosphorylation is an unlikely prerequisite for ErbB2 activation. HRG also triggers association of epidermal-growth-factor receptors (EGFR) with a kinase-inactive ErbB2 subset while reducing EGFR association with active ErbB2. Similarly, EGF treatment of A431 cells induces concomitant hetero-oligomerization of active ErbB2 with inactive EGFR, of active EGFR with inactive ErbB2, and of inactive ErbB2 with kinase-defective ErbB3. These combinatorial patterns of ligand-dependent oligomerization suggest a multivalent model of receptor tyrosine kinase interaction in which liganded homodimers provide stable oligomerization interfaces for unliganded ErbB2 or other bystander receptors. We submit that ErbB2 may be physiologically activated via a 'proxy' ligand-inducible heterotetrameric mechanism similar to that already established for transforming-growth-factor-beta type I receptors.