The ErbB2 receptor tyrosine kinase plays a critical role in a variety of developmental processes, and its aberrant activation may contribute to the progression of some breast and ovarian tumors. ASGP2, a transmembrane glycoprotein found on the surface of the highly metastatic ascites 13762 rat mammary adenocarcinoma cell line, is constitutively associated with ErbB2 in these cells and in mammary tissue from pregnant rats. Expression studies indicate that ASGP2 interacts directly and specifically with ErbB2 through one of its epidermal growth factor-like domains and that the co-expression of the two proteins in the same cell dramatically facilitates their direct stable interaction. Ectopic expression of ASGP2 in human melanoma tumor cells potentiates the response of endogenous ErbB2 to the neuregulin-1 growth factor. These observations point to a novel intramembrane mechanism for the modulation of receptor tyrosine kinase activity.
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