The molecular mechanisms by which mammalian receptor tyrosine kinases are negatively regulated remain largely unexplored. Previous genetic and biochemical studies indicate that Kekkon-1, a transmembrane protein containing leucine-rich repeats and an immunoglobulin-like domain in its extracellular region, acts as a feedback negative regulator of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor signaling in Drosophila melanogaster development. Here we tested whether the related human LRIG1 (also called Lig-1) protein can act as a negative regulator of EGF receptor and its relatives, ErbB2, ErbB3, and ErbB4. We observed that in co-transfected 203T cells, LBIG1 forms a complex with each of the ErbB receptors independent of growth factor binding. We further observed that co-expression of LRIG1 with EGF receptor suppresses cellular receptor levels, shortens receptor half-life, and enhances ligand-stimulated receptor ubiquitination. Finally, we observed that co-expression of LRIG1 suppresses EGF-stimulated transformation of NIH3T3 fibroblasts and that the inducible expression of LRIG1 in PC3 prostate tumor cells suppresses EGF- and neuregulin-1-stimulated cell cycle progression. Our observations indicate thai LRIG1 is a negative regulator of the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases and suggest that LRIG1-mediated receptor ubiquitination and degradation may contribute to the suppression of ErbB receptor function.
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