Functional and Structural Stability of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor in Detergent Micelles and Phospholipid Nanodiscs.

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Cellular signaling mediated by the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR or ErbB) family of receptor tyrosine kinases plays an important role in regulating normal and oncogenic cellular physiology. While structures of isolated EGFR extracellular domains and intracellular protein tyrosine kinase domains have suggested mechanisms for growth factor-mediated receptor dimerization and allosteric kinase domain activation, understanding how the transmembrane and juxtamembrane domains contribute to transmembrane signaling requires structural studies on intact receptor molecules. In this report, recombinant EGFR constructs containing the extracellular, transmembrane, juxtamembrane, and kinase domains are overexpressed and purified from human embryonic kidney 293 cell cultures. The oligomerization state, overall structure, and functional stability of the purified EGF-bound receptor are characterized in detergent micelles and phospholipid bilayers. In the presence of EGF, catalytically active EGFR dimers can be isolated by gel filtration in dodecyl maltoside. Visualization of the dimeric species by negative stain electron microscopy and single particle averaging reveals an overall structure of the extracellular domain that is similar to previously published crystal structures and is consistent with the C-termini of domain IV being juxtaposed against one another as they enter the transmembrane domain. Although detergent-soluble preparations of EGFR are stable as dimers in the presence of EGF, they exhibit differential functional stability in Triton X-100 versus dodecyl maltoside. Furthermore, the kinase activity can be significantly stabilized by reconstituting purified EGF-bound EGFR dimers in phospholipid nanodiscs or vesicles, suggesting that the environment around the hydrophobic transmembrane and amphipathic juxtamembrane domains is important for stabilizing the tyrosine kinase activity in vitro.

Last updated on 09/30/2015