Inhibition of Receptor Dimerization as a Novel Negative Feedback Mechanism of EGFR Signaling
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Dimerization of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is crucial for initiating signal transduction. We employed raster image correlation spectroscopy to continuously monitor the EGFR monomer-dimer equilibrium in living cells. EGFR dimer formation upon addition of EGF showed oscillatory behavior with a periodicity of about 2.5 min, suggesting the presence of a negative feedback loop to monomerize the receptor. We demonstrated that monomerization of EGFR relies on phospholipase Cγ, protein kinase C, and protein kinase D (PKD), while being independent of Ca2+ signaling and endocytosis. Phosphorylation of the juxtamembrane threonine residues of EGFR (T654/T669) by PKD was identified as the factor that shifts the monomer-dimer equilibrium of ligand bound EGFR towards the monomeric state. The dimerization state of the receptor correlated with the activity of an extracellular signal-regulated kinase, downstream of the EGFR. Based on these observations, we propose a novel, negative feedback mechanism that regulates EGFR signaling via receptor monomerization.