Mutational analysis of the epidermal growth factor-receptor kinase

Biochem Soc Symp. 1990;56:13-9.


The biological responses of epidermal growth factor (EGF) are mediated by a surface receptor denoted as the EGF receptor. The EGF receptor possesses intrinsic protein tyrosine kinase activity which is essential for signal transduction. Recent evidence shows that EGF receptor phosphorylates several substances including: phospholipase C-gamma and the GTPase-activating protein (GAP). Moreover, these proteins become associated with the activated receptor in an immunocomplex. Autophosphorylation of the EGF receptor appears to be required for the association with phospholipase C-gamma. Mutational analysis indicates that the intrinsic autophosphorylation sites compete with exogenous substrates for the substrate-binding site in the kinase domain. The ligand-binding site for EGF was analysed using a chimeric receptor approach. Subdomains of the extracellular ligand-binding region of the chicken EGF receptor, which binds EGF with low affinity, were replaced by corresponding regions of the human EGF receptor, which binds EGF with high affinity. On the basis of this analysis, it is concluded that subdomain III of the extracellular domain of the EGF receptor is a major ligand-binding domain. Together, domain I and domain III are able to reconstitute nearly all interactions which bring about high-affinity binding. Growth factor receptors with protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) activity could be envisioned as membrane-associated allosteric enzymes. Unlike water-soluble allosteric enzymes, the configuration of the growth factor receptors dictates that the ligand-binding domain and PTK activity of the receptor molecules are separated by the plasma membrane. Therefore, ligand-induced signal must cross the membrane barrier to activate the PTK function.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • ErbB Receptors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases