Differential and synergistic effects of epidermal growth factor receptor antibodies on unliganded ErbB dimers and oligomers Academic Article uri icon


  • 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.


  • Kozer, N
  • Kelly, MP
  • Orchard, S
  • Burgess, AW
  • Scott, AM
  • Clayton, AHA

publication date

  • 2011

has subject area