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Journal of biochemistry

Ectodomain shedding of HB-EGF: a potential target for cancer therapy.


PMID 21976708

Abstract

Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) is synthesized as a membrane-anchored protein, known as proHB-EGF. ProHB-EGF is cleaved by metalloproteases through a process referred to as 'ectodomain shedding', resulting in the formation of soluble HB-EGF. Both proHB-EGF and soluble HB-EGF are biologically active; the former acts on neighbouring cells through juxtacrine signalling, whereas the latter can move to distant locations. Elevated HB-EGF expression has been observed in ovarian and some other cancers. CRM197, a diphtheria toxin (DT) mutant, binds directly to the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domain and represses the mitogenic activity of HB-EGF. Recently, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for human HB-EGF were generated by immunizing HB-EGF-deficient mice with human HB-EGF (Hamaoka et al. (2010) J. Biochem. 148, 55-69). Most of the mAbs can bind to the EGF-like domain of HB-EGF, but fail to inhibit the mitogenic activity of soluble HB-EGF. However, some mAbs prevented the ectodomain shedding of proHB-EGF and inhibited the proliferation of EGF receptor-expressing cells stimulated by proHB-EGF-expressing cells. Hamaoka et al. showed that CRM197 prevents the ectodomain shedding of proHB-EGF. Thus, these mAbs function as specific inhibitors for the ectodomain shedding of HB-EGF and may be useful for treating cancers exhibiting elevated levels of HB-EGF.

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