The role of cooperativity with Src in oncogenic transformation mediated by non-small cell lung cancer-associated EGF receptor mutants

Oncogene. 2009 Apr 23;28(16):1821-32. doi: 10.1038/onc.2009.31. Epub 2009 Mar 23.


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)-associated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutants are constitutively active and induce ligand-independent transformation in non-malignant cell lines. We investigated the possibility that the ability of mutant EGFRs to transform cells reflects a constitutive cooperativity with Src using a system in which the overexpression of mutant, but not wild-type, EGFR induced anchorage-independent cell growth. Src was constitutively activated and showed enhanced interaction with mutant EGFRs, suggesting that constitutive EGFR-Src cooperativity may contribute to mutant EGFR-mediated oncogenesis. Indeed, the mutant EGFR-mediated cell transformation was inhibited by Src- as well as EGFR-directed inhibitors. Importantly, a tyrosine to phenylalanine mutation of the major Src phosphorylation site on EGFR, Y845, reduced the constitutive phosphorylation of NSCLC-EGFR mutants, as well as that of STAT3, Akt, Erk and Src, and reduced the mutant EGFR-Src association as well as proliferation, migration and anchorage-independent growth. Reduced anchorage-independent growth and migration were also observed when dominant-negative-Src was expressed in mutant EGFR-expressing cells. Overall, our findings show that mutant EGFR-Src interaction and cooperativity play critical roles in constitutive engagement of the downstream signaling pathways that allow NSCLC-associated EGFR mutants to mediate oncogenesis, and support the rationale to target Src-dependent signaling pathways in mutant EGFR-mediated malignancies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mutation*
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Phosphorylation
  • Signal Transduction
  • src-Family Kinases / physiology*


  • ErbB Receptors
  • src-Family Kinases

Grant support