Crystal structure of fibroblast growth factor receptor ectodomain bound to ligand and heparin

Nature. 2000 Oct 26;407(6807):1029-34. doi: 10.1038/35039551.


Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are a large family of structurally related proteins with a wide range of physiological and pathological activities. Signal transduction requires association of FGF with its receptor tyrosine kinase (FGFR) and heparan sulphate proteoglycan in a specific complex on the cell surface. Direct involvement of the heparan sulphate glycosaminoglycan polysaccharide in the molecular association between FGF and its receptor is essential for biological activity. Although crystal structures of binary complexes of FGF-heparin and FGF-FGFR have been described, the molecular architecture of the FGF signalling complex has not been elucidated. Here we report the crystal structure of the FGFR2 ectodomain in a dimeric form that is induced by simultaneous binding to FGF1 and a heparin decasaccharide. The complex is assembled around a central heparin molecule linking two FGF1 ligands into a dimer that bridges between two receptor chains. The asymmetric heparin binding involves contacts with both FGF1 molecules but only one receptor chain. The structure of the FGF1-FGFR2-heparin ternary complex provides a structural basis for the essential role of heparan sulphate in FGF signalling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Escherichia coli
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 1
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / chemistry*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / metabolism
  • Heparin / chemistry*
  • Heparin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / chemistry*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 2
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry


  • Ligands
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 1
  • Heparin
  • FGFR2 protein, human
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 2

Associated data

  • PDB/1E0O