This paper describes studies on the migratory behavior of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor kinase using antibodies that are specific for either the kinase domain or the extracellular domain of the receptor. Antiserum was raised to a 42,000-D subfragment of EGF receptor, which was shown earlier to carry the kinase catalytic site but not the EGF-binding site. Another antiserum was raised to the pure intact 170,000-D EGF receptor. The specificities of these antibodies were established by immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting experiments. The domain specificity was examined by indirect immunofluorescent staining of fixed cells. The anti-42-kD peptide antibody could bind specifically to EGF receptors of both human and murine origin and was found to be directed to the cytoplasmic part of the molecule. It did not bind to EGF receptor-negative cells, which contained other types of tyrosine kinases. The antibodies raised against the intact receptor recognized only EGF receptor-specific epitopes and were directed to the extracellular part of the molecule. The anti-receptor antibodies described above were used to visualize the cyclic locomotory behavior of EGF receptor kinase under various conditions of EGF stimulation and withdrawal. The receptor was examined in fixed and permeabilized cells by indirect immunofluorescent staining. The results demonstrate the following: (a) the receptor kinase domain migrates to the perinuclear region upon challenge with EGF; (b) both extracellular and cytoplasmic domains of the receptor are involved in migration as a unit; (c) withdrawal of EGF results in rapid recycling of the perinuclear receptors to the plasma membrane; (d) this return to the cell surface is inhibited by methylamine, chloroquine, and monensin; and (e) neither the internal migration nor the recycling process is blocked by inhibitors of protein biosynthesis.

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