EGFRvIII undergoes activation-dependent downregulation mediated by the Cbl proteins

Oncogene. 2006 Oct 19;25(49):6497-509. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1209662. Epub 2006 May 15.


The overexpression or mutation of tyrosine kinases (TKs), such as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), can lead to the development of cancer. The most common mutation of the EGFR in glioblastomas is the deletion of exons 2-7 known as the EGFRvIII. This mutant receptor cannot bind EGF but, instead, is constitutively active. The Cbl family of ubiquitin ligases (Cbl, Cbl-b, and Cbl-c) targets the activated EGFR for degradation. As the EGFRvIII is transforming, we investigated whether it could be downregulated by the Cbl proteins. The overexpression of all three Cbl proteins resulted in the ubiquitination and degradation of the EGFRvIII. As with the wild-type EGFR, the TK-binding domain and the RING finger of Cbl-b are sufficient for the downregulation of the EGFRvIII. Also, we found that Cbl-b is recruited to the EGFRvIII and inhibits the transformation of NIH 3T3 cells by the EGFRvIII. Mutation of the Cbl-binding site (Y1045F) in the EGFRvIII inhibits its ubiquitination and downregulation by Cbl-b and enhances its ability to transform. Furthermore, the EGFR TK inhibitor, AG 1478, prevents the downregulation of the EGFRvIII by the Cbl proteins and antagonizes the ability of an immunotoxin directed against the EGFRvIII to kill cells expressing this receptor. In conclusion, the EGFRvIII does not transform by escaping regulation by Cbl proteins and this activation-induced downregulation of the EGFRvIII has an important role in mediating the toxicity of anti-EGFRvIII immunotoxins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cricetinae
  • Down-Regulation
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-cbl / metabolism*
  • Quinazolines
  • Transfection
  • Tyrphostins / pharmacology
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Cblb protein, mouse
  • Quinazolines
  • Tyrphostins
  • Ubiquitin
  • epidermal growth factor receptor VIII
  • RTKI cpd
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-cbl
  • ErbB Receptors