Biochemistry 2015 Jul 06
Mechanistic Insights into R776H Mediated Activation of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Kinase.   
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase is activated by a variety of mutations in human cancers. R776H is one such recurrent mutation (R752H in another numbering system) in the αC-β4 loop of the tyrosine kinase domain that activates EGFR in the absence of the activating EGF ligand. However, the mechanistic details of how R776H contributes to kinase activation are not well understood. Here using cell-based cotransfection assays, we show that the R776H mutation activates EGFR in a dimerization-dependent manner by preferentially adopting the acceptor position in the asymmetric dimer. The acceptor function, but not the donor function, is enhanced for the R776H mutant, supporting the "superacceptor" hypothesis proposed for oncogenic mutations in EGFR. We also find that phosphorylation of monomeric EGFR is increased by R776H mutation, providing insights into EGFR lateral phosphorylation and oligomerization. On the basis of molecular modeling and molecular dynamics simulation, we propose a model in which loss of key autoinhibitory αC-helix capping interaction and alteration of coconserved cis regulatory interactions between the kinase domain and the flanking regulatory segments contribute to mutational activation. Since the R776 equivalent position is mutated in ErbB2 and ErbB4, our studies have implications for understanding kinase mutational activation in other ErbB family members as well.

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