Differential and synergistic effects of epidermal growth factor receptor antibodies on unliganded ErbB dimers and oligomers

Noga Kozer, Marcus P. Kelly, Suzanne Orchard, Antony W. Burgess, Andrew M. Scott, Andrew H.A. Clayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Antibodies directed against the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) offer a potentially powerful therapeutic approach against cancers driven by the EGFR pathway. EGFR antibodies are believed to halt cell surface activation by blocking ligand-induced receptor tyrosine kinase activation, i.e., ligand binding, a change in conformation, or the monomer-dimer transition. In this work, we demonstrate that wild-type EGFR and the truncated de2-7-EGFR (tumor-associated mutant) formed unliganded homo-oligomers and examined the effects of two clinically relevant antibodies on the conformation and quaternary state of these ligand-free EGFR oligomers on the surface of cells. The EGFR antibodies were mAb528, a ligand-blocking antibody that binds domain III, and mAb806, a conformationally sensitive antibody that binds near the dimer interface in domain II. We used a model cellular system, BaF/3 cells, with GFP-tagged receptors in the absence of interference from secreted ligands or other erbB receptor members. Different antibody-mediated effects (conformational transition, receptor cross-linking, or receptor dissociation) were distinguished by combining two complementary biophysical techniques: image correlation spectroscopy (submicrometer scale clustering) and homo-Forster resonance energy transfer (association and/or conformation on a 1-10 nm scale). mAb528 cross-linked EGFR into an inactive EGFR dimer of dimers but had no effect when added to de2-7-EGFR oligomers. mAb806 had a minor effect on EGFR dimers as expected from its poor binding to a conformationally shielded epitope on wtEGFR but bound de2-7-EGFR oligomers, causing a conformational change in the intracellular C-terminal GFP-tagged tail. The combination of the two antibodies had synergistic effects, increasing the level of cross-linking of de2-7-EGFR, but did not lead to enhanced cross-linking of EGFR. The results reveal new modes of receptor-antibody interactions for EGFR and de2-7-EGFR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3581-3590
Number of pages10
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2011
Externally publishedYes

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