Real-Time and Label-Free Detection of Cellular Response to Signaling Mediated by Distinct Subclasses of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptors

Epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) have often shown two distinct binding affinities for epidermal growth factor. It is the high-affinity EGFR that is predominantly responsible for mediating the cell signaling that plays an indispensable role in cell growth, proliferation, motility, and differentiation. We applied the quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) to track short-term cellular responses to EGFR signaling in human carcinoma A431 cells. Cellular responses to high- and low-affinity EGFR signaling were detected individually as well as simultaneously based on changes in mass and viscoelasticity of cells. These responses are associated with EGF-induced biological processes including the cytoskeleton remodeling and calcium influx. QCM-D provides a label-free sensor technology that can be exploited to investigate the role of high-affinity EGFR in cancer development and cancer prognosis.