Negative constraints underlie the ErbB specificity of epidermal growth factor-like ligands
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SourceJournal of Biological Chemistry, 281, 52, (2006), pp. 40033-40040
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Biological Chemistry
SubjectApplied Biology; Bioinformatics; Cell Biology; NCMLS 7: Chemical and physical biology; UMCN 5.3: Cellular energy metabolism
Epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like growth factors bind their ErbB receptors in a highly selective manner, but the molecular basis for this specificity is poorly understood. We have previously shown that certain residues in human EGF (Ser(2)-Asp(3)) and TGFalpha (Glu(26)) are not essential for their binding to ErbB1 but prevent binding to ErbB3 and ErbB4. In the present study, we have used a phage display approach to affinity-optimize the C-terminal linear region of EGF-like growth factors for binding to each ErbB receptor and thereby shown that Arg(45) in EGF impairs binding to both ErbB3 and ErbB4. By omitting all these so-called negative constraints from EGF, we designed a ligand designated panerbin that binds ErbB1, ErbB3, and ErbB4 with similarly high affinity as their wild-type ligands. Homology models, based on the known crystal structure of TGFalpha-bound ErbB1, showed that panerbin is able to bind ErbB1, ErbB3, and ErbB4 in a highly similar manner with respect to position and number of interaction sites. Upon in silico introduction of the experimentally known negative constraints into panerbin, we found that Arg(45) induced local charge repulsion and Glu(26) induced steric hindrance in a receptor-specific manner, whereas Ser(2)-Asp(3) impaired binding due to a disordered conformation. Furthermore, radiolabeled panerbin was used to quantify the level of all three receptors on human breast cancer cells in a single radioreceptor assay. It is concluded that the ErbB specificity of EGF-like growth factors primarily results from the presence of a limited number of residues that impair the unintended interaction with other ErbB receptors.
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