The Src homology 2-containing phosphotyrosine phosphatase (SHP2) is primarily a positive effector of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling. However, the molecular mechanism by which SHP2 effects its biological function is unknown. In this report, we provide evidence that defines the molecular mechanism and site of action of SHP2 in the epidermal growth factor-induced mitogenic pathway. We demonstrate that SHP2 acts upstream of Ras and functions by increasing the half-life of activated Ras (GTP-Ras) in the cell by interfering with the process of Ras inactivation catalyzed by Ras GTPase-activating protein (RasGAP). It does so by inhibition of tyrosine phosphorylation-dependent translocation of RasGAP to the plasma membrane, to its substrate (GTP-Ras) microdomain. Inhibition is achieved through the dephosphorylation of RasGAP binding sites at the level of the plasma membrane. We have identified Tyr992 of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) to be one such site, since its mutation to Phe renders the EGFR refractory to the effect of dominant-negative SHP2. To our knowledge, this is the first report to outline the site and molecular mechanism of action of SHP2 in EGFR signaling, which may also serve as a model to describe its role in other receptor tyrosine kinase signaling pathways.
Senescent human diploid fibroblasts do not respond to growth factors like epidermal growth factor (EGF), although they have a normal level of receptors and downstream signaling molecules. To examine the mechanism of signaling attenuation, we investigated Erk activation after EGF stimulation in senescent cells. Senescent cells did not phosphorylate Erk-1/2 after EGF stimulation, whereas young cells did. In those senescent cells, we found an increased level of caveolin proteins and strong interactions between caveolin-1 and EGF receptor. Electron microscopic analysis demonstrated an increased number of caveolae structures in senescent cells. More interestingly, brain, spleen, and lung from 26-month-old rats showed substantial increases of caveolin proteins. However, in the case of p53-induced senescence, caveolin-1 was not induced, and EGF stimulation phosphorylated Erk-1/2 as much as young control cells. Finally, we overexpressed caveolin-1 in young human diploid fibroblasts in which the activation of Erk-1/2 upon EGF stimulation was significantly suppressed. These results suggest that the unresponsiveness of senescent fibroblasts to EGF stimulation may be due to the overexpression of caveolins, which seems to be independent of growth arrest and other aging phenotypes.
Target recognition by the ubiquitin system is mediated by E3 ubiquitin ligases. Nedd4 family members are E3 ligases comprised of a C2 domain, 2-4 WW domains that bind PY motifs (L/PPxY) and a ubiquitin ligase HECT domain. The nine Nedd4 family proteins in mammals include two close relatives: Nedd4 (Nedd4-1) and Nedd4L (Nedd4-2), but their global substrate recognition or differences in substrate specificity are unknown. We performed in vitro ubiquitylation and binding assays of human Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2, and rat-Nedd4-1, using protein microarrays spotted with approximately 8200 human proteins. Top hits (substrates) for the ubiquitylation and binding assays mostly contain PY motifs. Although several substrates were recognized by both Nedd4-1 and Nedd4-2, others were specific to only one, with several Tyr kinases preferred by Nedd4-1 and some ion channels by Nedd4-2; this was subsequently validated in vivo. Accordingly, Nedd4-1 knockdown or knockout in cells led to sustained signalling via some of its substrate Tyr kinases (e.g. FGFR), suggesting Nedd4-1 suppresses their signalling. These results demonstrate the feasibility of identifying substrates and deciphering substrate specificity of mammalian E3 ligases.
In Drosophila, as in mammalian cells, the Raf serine/threonine kinase appears to act as a common transducer of signals from several different receptor tyrosine kinases. We describe a new role for Raf in Drosophila development, showing that Raf acts in the somatic follicle cells to specify the dorsoventral polarity of the egg. Targeted expression of activated Raf (Rafgof) within follicle cells is sufficient to dorsalize both the eggshell and the embryo, whereas reduced Raf activity ventralizes the eggshell. We show that Raf functions downstream of the EGF receptor to instruct the dorsal follicle cell fate. In this assay, human and Drosophila Rafgof are functionally similar, in that either can induce ventral follicle cells to assume a dorsal fate.
EGF receptor (EGFR) and HER2 positivity are considered to be negative prognostic factors in gastric cancer. Biomarker analysis was conducted to evaluate the impact of EGFR and HER2 expression on the outcome of patients enrolled in the Adjuvant Chemotherapy Trial of TS-1 for Gastric Cancer (ACTS-GC), a randomized controlled trial comparing postoperative adjuvant S-1 therapy with surgery alone in 1,059 patients with stage II/III gastric cancer.
Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded surgical specimens were retrospectively examined in 829 patients (78.3%). The effects of EGFR and HER2 positivity on survival were analyzed on the basis of the 5-year survival data from the study. EGFR positivity was defined as an immunohistochemistry (IHC) score of 3+, and HER2 positivity as an IHC score of 3+ or an IHC score of 2+ with a positive dual-color in situ hybridization status.
EGFR and HER2 were positive in 75 (9.0%) and 113 (13.6%) patients, respectively. The overall and relapse-free survival rates were significantly lower in EGFR-positive patients than in EGFR-negative patients, whereas they were similar in HER2-positive and HER2-negative patients. Multivariate analysis showed that EGFR positivity correlated with poor outcomes [HR = 1.504; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.020-2.149; P = 0.040]. Treatment with S-1 improved survival compared with surgery alone, irrespective of EGFR and HER2 status.
EGFR positivity, but not HER2 positivity, was associated with poor patient outcomes after curative resection of stage II/III gastric cancer. There was no interaction between S-1 and EGFR or HER2 status with respect to survival outcome.
Ligand-induced down-regulation controls the signaling potency of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR/ErbB1). Overexpression studies have identified Cbl-mediated ubiquitinylation of EGFR as a mechanism of ligand-induced EGFR down-regulation. However, the role of endogenous Cbl in EGFR down-regulation and the precise step in the endocytic pathway regulated by Cbl remain unclear. Using Cbl-/- mouse embryonic fibroblast cell lines, we demonstrate that endogenous Cbl is essential for ligand-induced ubiquitinylation and efficient degradation of EGFR. Further analyses using Chinese hamster ovary cells with a temperature-sensitive defect in ubiquitinylation confirm a crucial role of the ubiquitin machinery in Cbl-mediated EGFR degradation. However, internalization into early endosomes did not require Cbl function or an intact ubiquitin pathway. Confocal immunolocalization studies indicated that Cbl-dependent ubiquitinylation plays a critical role at the early endosome to late endosome/lysosome sorting step of EGFR down-regulation. These findings establish Cbl as the major endogenous ubiquitin ligase responsible for EGFR degradation, and show that the critical role of Cbl-mediated ubiquitinylation is at the level of endosomal sorting, rather than at the level of internalization.
We investigated the molecular effect of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors erlotinib and gefitinib in vivo on all available tumors from patients treated on North American Brain Tumor Consortium trials 01-03 and 00-01 for recurrent or progressive malignant glioma.
EGFR expression and signaling during treatment with erlotinib or gefitinib were analyzed by Western blot and compared with pre-erlotinib/gefitinib-exposed tissue or unexposed controls. Tumors were also analyzed for EGFR mutations and for other genomic abnormalities by array-based comparative genomic hybridization. Clinical data were used to associate molecular features with tumor sensitivity to erlotinib or gefitinib.
Erlotinib and gefitinib did not markedly affect EGFR activity in vivo. No lung signature mutations of EGFR exons 18 to 21 were observed. There was no clear association between erlotinib/gefitinib sensitivity and deletion or amplification events on array-based comparative genomic hybridization analysis, although novel genomic changes were identified.
As erlotinib and gefitinib were generally ineffective at markedly inhibiting EGFR phosphorylation in these tumors, other assays may be needed to detect molecular effects. Additionally, the mechanism of erlotinib/gefitinib sensitivity likely differs between brain and lung tumors. Finally, novel genomic changes, including deletions of chromosomes 6, 21, and 22, represent new targets for further research.
It is not determined whether the continuous use of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) is reasonable for patients with activating EGFR mutations, who have progressed with the drug.
We retrospectively analyzed the data from 2002 to 2010 of consecutive patients who had advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring activating EGFR mutations and showed radiological disease progression after EGFR-TKI treatment as the first-line or second-line setting. We classified them into two groups: continuous EGFR-TKI and switching to chemotherapy, and compared the clinical outcomes. Multivariate analysis for survival was performed including age, sex, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (0-1/ 2-4), brain metastasis, EGFR mutations (deletions in exon 19 versus L858R), continuous EGFR-TKI (yes/no), and initiation of EGFR-TKI (first versus second).
A total of 551 NSCLC patients were screened for EGFR mutations in the period, and 186 patients had activating EGFR mutations. To explore the potential use of EGFR-TKI beyond progressive disease (PD), 64 patients were selected and analyzed. There were 13 men and 51 women, and median age was 65.5 years (range, 42-86). Among them, 31 patients had deletions in exon 19, and 33 had point mutation of L858R in exon 21. Thirty-nine patients were continuing EGFR-TKI beyond PD; 25 patients were switched to cytotoxic chemotherapy alone. The median overall survival was 32.2 months in the patients continuing EGFR-TKI, and 23.0 months in the patients switching to chemotherapy, presenting a significant difference between the two groups (p = 0.005). Cox analysis showed that continuous EGFR-TKI after PD (hazards ratio 0.42, 95% confidence interval: 0.21-0.83, p = 0.013) was associated with improved survival.
Continuous use of EGFR-TKI beyond PD may prolong overall survival compared with switching to cytotoxic chemotherapy in patients with activating EGFR mutations. A prospective study will be needed to confirm our results.
During the past decade, the incidence of EGFR mutation has been shown to vary across different ethnicities. It occurs at the rate of 10-15% in North Americans and Europeans, 19% in African-Americans, 20-30% in various East Asian series including Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese. Frequency of EGFR mutations in India however remains sparsely explored.
We report 23% incidence of Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations in 907 Non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients of Indian ethnicity, in contrast to 10-15% known in Caucasians and 27-62% among East Asians. In this study, EGFR mutations were found to be more common in never-smokers 29.4% as compared to smokers 15.3%. Consistent with other populations, mutation rates among adenocarcinoma-males were predominantly lower than females with 32% incidence. However unlike Caucasians, EGFR mutation rate among adenocarcinoma-never-smoker females were comparable to males suggesting lack of gender bias among never smokers likely to benefit from EGFR targeted therapy.
This study has an overall implication for establishing relevance for routine EGFR mutation diagnostics for NSCLC patients in clinics and emphasizes effectiveness for adoption of EGFR inhibitors as the first line treatment among Indian population. The intermediate frequency of EGFR mutation among Indian population compared to Caucasians and East Asians is reminiscent of an ancestral admixture of genetic influence from Middle Easterners, Central Asians, and Europeans on modern- Indian population that may confer differential susceptibility to somatic mutations in EGFR.
In proneural groups of cells in the morphogenetic furrow of the developing Drosophila eye phosphorylated mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) antigen is held in the cytoplasm for hours. We have developed a reagent to detect nuclear MAPK non-antigenically and report our use of this reagent to confirm that MAPK nuclear translocation is regulated by a second mechanism in addition to phosphorylation. This "cytoplasmic hold" of activated MAPK has not been observed in cell culture systems. We also show that MAPK cytoplasmic hold has an essential function in vivo: if it is overcome, developmental patterning in the furrow is disrupted.