A new method to study heterodimerization of membrane proteins and its application to fibroblast growth factor receptors

Nuala Del Piccolo, Sarvenaz Sarabipour, Kalina Hristova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The activity of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) is controlled through their lateral association in the plasma membrane. RTKs are believed to form both homodimers and heterodimers, and the different dimers are believed to play unique roles in cell signaling. However, RTK heterodimers remain poorly characterized, as compared with homodimers, because of limitations in current experimental methods. Here, we develop a FRETbased methodology to assess the thermodynamics of hetero-interactions in the plasma membrane. To demonstrate the utility of the methodology, we use it to study the hetero-interactions between three fibroblast growth factor receptors-FGFR1, FGFR2, and FGFR3-in the absence of ligand. Our results show that all possible FGFR heterodimers form, suggesting that the biological roles of FGFR heterodimers may be as significant as the homodimer roles. We further investigate the effect of two pathogenic point mutations in FGFR3 (A391E and G380R) on heterodimerization. We show that each of these mutations stabilize most of the heterodimers, with the largest effects observed for FGFR3 wild-type/mutant heterodimers. We thus demonstrate that the methodology presented here can yield new knowledge about RTK interactions and can further our understanding of signal transduction across the plasma membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1188-1301
Number of pages114
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume292
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 27 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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