erbB-2 autophosphorylation is required for mitogenic action and high-affinity substrate coupling

Oreste Segatto, Fulvio Lonardo, Kristian Helin, Daniel Wexler, Francesca Fazioli, Suh Goo Rhee, Pier Paolo Di Fiore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autophosphorylation of gp185erbB-2 in vivo is confined to its carboxy terminus and is required for optimal erbB-2 transforming activity under conditions of receptor overexpression. It remains unresolved, however, to what extent autophosphorylation regulates erbB-2 mitogenic signaling in normal cells, nor is the biochemical basis for such a regulatory function known. To address these issues, we utilized a chimeric molecule encompassing the extracellular domain of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) fused to the transmembrane and intracellular domains of the erbB-2 product. In this EGFR/erbB-2 chimera, erbB-2 kinase activity is regulated by EGF binding. An EGFR/erbB-2 mutant bearing multiple Tyr→Phe substitutions at erbB-2 autophosphorylation sites (EGFR/erbB-2 5P) displayed markedly reduced phosphotyrosine content following EGF stimulation in comparison with the non-mutated chimera. When expressed in NR6 cells, the EGFR/erbB-2 5P mutant was unable to deliver a sizeable mitogenic signal when activated by EGF at physiological levels. In intact cells, the 5P mutant was still able to stimulate phosphorylation of the γ isozyme of phospholipase C (PLC-γ), a prototype erbB-2 substrate, although with a delayed time course, indicating that the 5P mutation decreased the affinity of the erbB-2 kinase for this substrate. This conclusion was further supported by the inability of the 5P mutant to associate with PLC-γ in co-immunoprecipitation experiments. We infer that a major role of autophosphorylation is to increase the affinity of the erbB-2 kinase for its cellular substrates, so that, under physiological conditions, autophosphorylation is absolutely required for erbB-2 mitogenic signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1339-1346
Number of pages8
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


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