Functional effects of glycosylation at Asn-579 of the epidermal growth factor receptor

Kristin B Whitson, Stefanie R Whitson, Monica L Red-Brewer, Austin J McCoy, Angela A Vitali, Francesca Walker, Terrance Grant Johns, Albert H Beth, James V Staros

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We have investigated functional effects of glycosylation at N(579) of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Our previous study showed that the population of cell-surface expressed EGFRs in A431 cells, a human epidermoid carcinoma cell line, is composed of two subpopulations that differ by glycosylation at N(579) [Zhen et al. (2003) Biochemistry 42, 5478-5492]. To characterize the subpopulation of receptors not glycosylated at N(579), we established a 32D cell line expressing a point mutant of the EGFR (N579Q), which cannot be glycosylated at this position. Analysis of epitope accessibility suggests that the lack of glycosylation at N(579) weakens auto-inhibitory tether interactions, and cross-linking experiments suggest a somewhat elevated level of preformed N579Q-EGFR dimers in the absence of ligand relative to wild-type EGFR (WT-EGFR). However, ligand drives the majority of N579Q-EGFR dimerization, suggesting that untethering, while necessary, is not sufficient to drive dimerization. Ligand-binding experiments reveal a much greater fraction of N579Q-EGFRs in a high-affinity state compared to the fraction of WT-EGFRs in a high-affinity state. However, differences in the kinetic association and dissociation rates indicate that the high-affinity states of the WT and the N579Q receptors are distinct. EGF-stimulated phosphorylation in cells expressing N579Q-EGFRs results in notable differences in the pattern of tyrosine phosphorylated proteins compared with that obtained in cells expressing WT-EGFRs. Moreover, although WT-EGFRs confer cell survival in 32D cells in the absence of interleukin-3 and EGF, we found that receptors lacking glycosylation at N(579) do not. This is the first study of which we are aware to show that selective glycosylation of a specific N-glycosylation site can produce two functionally distinct receptors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14920 - 14931
Number of pages12
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

Cite this

Whitson, K. B., Whitson, S. R., Red-Brewer, M. L., McCoy, A. J., Vitali, A. A., Walker, F., Johns, T. G., Beth, A. H., & Staros, J. V. (2005). Functional effects of glycosylation at Asn-579 of the epidermal growth factor receptor. Biochemistry, 44(45), 14920 - 14931.