Complexes of signaling proteins that are nucleated upon activation of receptor tyrosine kinases are dynamic macromolecular assemblies held together by interactions, such as the recognition of phosphotyrosines by Src homology 2 (SH2) domains. We predicted that reversible binding and phosphatase activity enable dynamic regulation of these protein complexes, which could affect signal transduction. We explored how dynamics in the interactions among the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR), GRB2-associated binder protein 1 (GAB1), and SH2 domain-containing phosphatase 2 (SHP2) affected EGFR signaling output, specifically SHP2 binding to tyrosine-phosphorylated GAB1, which relieves the autoinhibition of SHP2. Among the effects of activated SHP2 is increased extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity. We found that in H1666 lung adenocarcinoma cells, EGFR-activated Src family kinases (SFKs) counteracted repeated GAB1 dephosphorylation events and maintained the association of SHP2 with phosphorylated GAB1 at a cytosolic site distal from EGFR. A computational model predicted that an experimentally verified delay in SFK inactivation after EGFR inactivation, combined with an amplification of GAB1 phosphorylation in cells with proteins in a specific range of concentrations, enabled GAB1 phosphorylation and GAB1-SHP2 complexes to persist longer than EGFR phosphorylation persisted in response to EGF. This SFK-dependent mechanism was specific to EGFR and did not occur in response to activation of the receptor tyrosine kinase c-MET. Thus, our results quantitatively describe a regulatory mechanism used by some receptor tyrosine kinases to remotely control the duration of a signal by regulating the persistence of a signaling protein complex.
Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.