We have tested the effects of an mAb directed against the protein core of the extracellular domain of the human EGF receptor (mAb108), on the binding of EGF, and on the early responses of cells to EGF presentation. We used NIH 3T3 cells devoid of murine EGF receptor, transfected with a cDNA encoding the full-length human EGF receptor gene, and fully responsive to EGF. The binding to saturation of mAb108 to the surface of these cells at 4 degrees C and at other temperatures specifically reduced high-affinity binding of EGF, but did not change the dissociation constant or the estimated number of binding sites for low-affinity binding of EGF. The kinetics of EGF binding to the transfected cells were measured to determine the effects of the mAb on the initial rate of EGF binding at 37 degrees C. Interestingly, high-affinity EGF receptor bound EGF with an intrinsic on-rate constant 40-fold higher (9.8 x 10(6) M-1.s-1) than did low-affinity receptor (2.5 x 10(5) M-1.s-1), whereas the off-rate constants, measured at 4 degrees C were similar. Cells treated with the mAb or with phorbol myristate acetate displayed single on-rate constants similar to that for the low-affinity receptors. At low doses of EGF ranging from 0.4 to 1.2 nM, pretreatment of cells with mAb108 inhibited by 50-100% all of the early responses tested, including stimulation of tyrosine-specific phosphorylation of the EGF receptor, turnover of phosphatidyl inositol, elevation of cytoplasmic pH, and release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores. At saturating doses of EGF (20 nM) the inhibition of these early responses by prebinding of mAb108 was overcome. On the basis of these results, we propose that the high-affinity EGF receptors are necessary for EGF receptor signal transduction.

This content is only available as a PDF.