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Inverse correlation between Thr-669 and constitutive tyrosine phosphorylation in the asymmetric epidermal growth factor receptor dimer conformation

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E-mail: hsakurai@pha.u-toyama.ac.jp

Abstract

We have recently identified tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-induced phosphorylation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) at Thr-669 and Ser-1046/1047 via ERK and p38 pathways, respectively. In the present study, we investigated the roles of ligand-induced phosphorylation of serine and threonine residues in EGFR-overexpressing MDA-MB-468 breast cancer cells. Epidermal growth factor and heregulin, an ErbB3 ligand, induced the phosphorylation of Thr-669 and Ser-1046/1047. Inversely, constitutive tyrosine phosphorylation of the C-terminal domain, including Tyr-1068, was significantly downregulated on ligand stimulation. Inhibition of the ERK pathway by U0126 blocked ligand-induced Thr-669 phosphorylation as well as Tyr-1068 dephosphorylation. Downregulation of constitutive tyrosine phosphorylation of EGFR in HEK293 cells stably expressing the wild type was abolished by substitution of Thr-669 for Ala. In an asymmetric EGFR homodimer structure, one Thr-669 in the receiver kinase of the dimer was involved in downregulation. Similarly, Thr-669 in an EGFR-ErbB3 heterodimer also participated in tyrosine dephosphorylation. These results indicate that ERK-mediated Thr-669 phosphorylation suppresses constitutive tryrosine phosphosphorylation in the homo- and heterodimer asymmetric conformations of the EGFR.

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