ErbB's

Homology modeling of ErbB's
During my internship at the CMBI I worked on homology modeling of the ErbB's, also known as growth-factor receptors, in collaboration with the department of cell biology, Nijmegen. We studied the interaction specificity of the different growth factors for their receptor and also suggested mutations for further experiments.
More information can be found on the site.

Status: Our findings were published in two articles. The first article was published in 2006 in JBC (J Biol Chem. 2006 Dec 29;281(52):40033-40. Epub 2006 Oct 10.).
You can download the article here or go to the PubMed-link


Abstract: Negative constraints underlie the ErbB specificity of epidermal growth factor-like ligands.
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.

The second article was published in Growth Factors in 2009. (2009 Jun;27(3):163-72.) You can download the article here or go to the PubMed-link


Abstract: Role of the C-terminal linear region of EGF-like growth factors in ErbB specificity.
The epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like growth factors bind their ErbB receptors in a highly selective manner. Recently, we have shown that the sequence YYDLL in the C-terminal linear region is compatible with binding to all ligand-binding ErbB receptors. In the present study, we show that introduction of the YYDLL sequence into the ErbB1 specific ligands EGF and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGFalpha) broadened their receptor specificity towards ErbB4. Upon introduction of the YYDLL sequence into epiregulin, which by itself binds ErbB1 and ErbB4 but not ErbB3, its binding specificity was broadened to ErbB3, concomitant with enhanced affinity for ErbB4. Introduction of the YYDLL sequence into NRG1beta resulted in a 10-fold increase in affinity for ErbB3, without affecting its receptor specificity. Remarkably, the strongly enhanced affinity for ErbB3 negatively influenced their mitogenic activity towards cells coexpressing ErbB2 and ErbB3. These observations are discussed in terms of the optimised ErbB affinity, selectivity and mitogenic potential that have taken place during evolution.