Profiling Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and Heregulin Receptor 3 Heteromerization Using Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Heteromer Investigation Technology

Mohammed Akli Ayoub, Heng B. See, Ruth M. Seeber, Stephen P. Armstrong, Kevin D.G. Pfleger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Heteromerization can play an important role in regulating the activation and/or signal transduction of most forms of receptors, including receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). The study of receptor heteromerization has evolved extensively with the emergence of resonance energy transfer based approaches such as bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET). Here, we report an adaptation of our Receptor-Heteromer Investigation Technology (Receptor-HIT) that has recently been published as the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) Heteromer Identification Technology (GPCR-HIT). We now demonstrate the utility of this approach for investigating RTK heteromerization by examining the functional interaction between the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR; also known as erbB1/HER1) and heregulin (HRG) receptor 3 (HER3; also known as erbB3) in live HEK293FT cells using recruitment of growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb2) to the activated receptors. We found that EGFR and HER3 heteromerize specifically as demonstrated by HRG inducing a BRET signal between EGFR/Rluc8 and Grb2/Venus only when HER3 was co-expressed. Similarly, EGF stimulation promoted a specific BRET signal between HER3/Rluc8 and Grb2/Venus only when EGFR was co-expressed. Both EGF and HRG effects on Grb2 interaction are dose-dependent, and specifically blocked by EGFR inhibitor AG-1478. Furthermore, truncation of HER3 to remove the putative Grb2 binding sites appears to abolish EGF-induced Grb2 recruitment to the EGFR-HER3 heteromer. Our results support the concept that EGFR interacts with Grb2 in both constitutive and EGF-dependent manners and this interaction is independent of HER3 co-expression. In contrast, HER3-Grb2 interaction requires the heteromerization between EGFR and HER3. These findings clearly indicate the importance of EGFR-HER3 heteromerization in HER3-mediated Grb2-dependent signaling pathways and supports the central role of HER3 in the diversity and regulation of HER family functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere64672
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 20 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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