Membrane receptors are internalized either constitutively or upon ligand engagement. Whereas there is evidence for differential regulation of the two processes, little is known about the molecular machinery involved. Previous studies have shown that an unidentified kinase substrate is required for endocytosis of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), the prototypical ligand-inducible receptor, but not of the transferrin receptor (TfR), the prototypical constitutively internalized receptor. Eps15, an endocytic protein that is tyrosine phosphorylated by EGFR, is a candidate for such a function. Here, we show that tyrosine phosphorylation of Eps15 is necessary for internalization of the EGFR, but not of the TfR. We mapped Tyr 850 as the major in vivo tyrosine phosphorylation site of Eps15. A phosphorylation-negative mutant of Eps15 acted as a dominant negative on the internalization of the EGFR, but not of the TfR. A phosphopeptide, corresponding to the phosphorylated sequence of Eps15, inhibited EGFR endocytosis, suggesting that phosphotyrosine in Eps15 serves as a docking site for a phosphotyrosine binding protein. Thus, tyrosine phosphorylation of Eps15 represents the first molecular determinant, other than those contained in the receptors themselves, which is involved in the differential regulation of constitutive vs. regulated endocytosis.
- Epidermal growth factor receptor
- Transferrin receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology