EGF receptor, a member of the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases, plays essential physiological roles in development and mainatenance of epithelial tissues by genrating cell proliferation, survival, differentiation and migration signals in response to specific ligands. Activation of ErbB receptors is linked to etiology of human cancer, including tumor initiation and progression. ErbB receptors also mediate cytoprotection from chemotherapy and radiation, and represent targets for radio- and chemo-sentization of tumors. Elucidating molecular mechanisms that control signaling potency of ErbB receptos is therefore a major goal in cancer biology. Ligand-induced downregulation, representing a balance between lysosomal degradation and recycling to cell sureface, constitutes a major determinant of signaling potency of ErbB receptors. We and others have established that Cbl-family ubiquitin ligase proteins play a crucial role in EGFR down-regulation by faciliatating receptor ubiquitination. The latter is recognized by endosomal ESCRT protein complexes as a signal for lysosomal sorting of the receptor. The precise endocytic step(s) and mechanisms by which Cbl and its closely related, functionally reducndant, family member Cbl-b physiologically operate remain to be established. The biological consequence of negative regulation by Cbl proteins on physiological and oncogenic roles of EGFR also remain to be uncovered. This proposal will utilize unique Cbl/Cbl-b null murine MEF and mammary epithelial cells as wel as Cbl/Cbl-b knockdown human mammary epithelial cells to address whether Cbl proteins selectively control lysosomal sorting of EGFR or if they are also required for initial internalization;reconstitiution of Cbl/Cbl-b deficient cells will provide structural basis for negative regulation of EGFR by Cbl proteins. By using proteomic and gene expression analyses, we will investigate if Cbl proteins provide global or selective regulation of certain signaling modules and link these to biological outputs of EGFR signaling. Finally, we will use mammary gland targeted Cbl/Cbl-b knockout in mice to address the functional consequences of EGFR regulation by Cbl proteins during physiological mammary galnd development and in EGFR-mediated mammary oncogenesis. Insights gained from these studies should further our understanding of receptor tyrosine kinase down-regulation, and may identify newer targets to rationally design anti-cancer agents and to potentiate existing chemotherapeutic and radiation-based cancer cell killing, by countering receptor tyrosine kinase-mediated cytoprotection.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Molecular Oncogenesis Study Section (MONC)
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Salnikow, Konstantin
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University of Nebraska Medical Center
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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