EGF induces coalescence of different lipid rafts

J Cell Sci. 2008 Aug 1;121(Pt 15):2519-28. doi: 10.1242/jcs.028753. Epub 2008 Jul 15.


The suggestion that microdomains may function as signaling platforms arose from the presence of growth factor receptors, such as the EGFR, in biochemically isolated lipid raft fractions. To investigate the role of EGFR activation in the organization of lipid rafts we have performed FLIM analyses using putative lipid raft markers such as ganglioside GM1 and glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored GFP (GPI-GFP). The EGFR was labeled using single domain antibodies from Llama glama that specifically bind the EGFR without stimulating its kinase activity. Our FLIM analyses demonstrate a cholesterol-independent colocalization of GM1 with EGFR, which was not observed for the transferrin receptor. By contrast, a cholesterol-dependent colocalization was observed for GM1 with GPI-GFP. In the resting state no colocalization was observed between EGFR and GPI-GFP, but stimulation of the cell with EGF resulted in the colocalization at the nanoscale level of EGFR and GPI-GFP. Moreover, EGF induced the enrichment of GPI-GFP in a detergent-free lipid raft fraction. Our results suggest that EGF induces the coalescence of the two types of GM1-containing microdomains that might lead to the formation of signaling platforms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology*
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • G(M1) Ganglioside / analysis
  • G(M1) Ganglioside / metabolism
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols / analysis
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / analysis
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Signal Transduction


  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • G(M1) Ganglioside
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • ErbB Receptors