FGFR3 unliganded dimer stabilization by the juxtamembrane domain

Sarvenaz Sarabipour, Kalina Hristova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) conduct biochemical signals upon dimerization in the membrane plane. While RTKs are generally known to be activated in response to ligand binding, many of these receptors are capable of forming unliganded dimers that are likely important intermediates in the signaling process. All 58 RTKs consist of an extracellular (EC) domain, a transmembrane (TM) domain, and an intracellular domain that includes a juxtamembrane (JM) sequence and a kinase domain. Here we investigate directly the effect of the JM domain on unliganded dimer stability of FGFR3, a receptor that is critically important for skeletal development. The data suggest that FGFR3 unliganded dimers are stabilized by receptor-receptor contacts that involve the JM domains. The contribution is significant, as it is similar in magnitude to the stabilizing contribution of a pathogenic mutation and the repulsive contribution of the EC domain. Furthermore, we show that the effects of the JM domain and a TM pathogenic mutation on unliganded FGFR3 dimer stability are additive.We observe that the JM-mediated dimer stabilization occurs when the JM domain is linked to FGFR3 TM domain and not simply anchored to the plasma membrane. These results point to a coordinated stabilization of the unliganded dimeric state of FGFR3 by its JM and TM domains via a mechanism that is distinctly different from the case of another well studied receptor, EGFR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1705-1714
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2015


  • Juxtamembrane domain
  • Membrane protein dimerization
  • Receptor tyrosine kinases
  • Thermodynamics
  • Transmembrane domain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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