Biochemical and biophysical research communications

The E3 ubiquitin ligase CHIP selectively regulates mutant epidermal growth factor receptor by ubiquitination and degradation.

PMID 27475501


Somatic mutation in the tyrosine kinase domain of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a decisive factor for the therapeutic response to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) in lung adenocarcinoma. The stability of mutant EGFR is maintained by various regulators, including heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90). The C terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein (CHIP) is a Hsp70/Hsp90 co-chaperone and exhibits E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. The high-affinity Hsp90-CHIP complex recognizes and selectively regulates their client proteins. CHIP also works with its own E3 ligase activity independently of Hsp70/Hsp90. Here, we investigated the role of CHIP in regulating EGFR in lung adenocarcinoma and also evaluated the specificity of CHIP's effects on mutant EGFR. In HEK 293T cells transfected with either WT EGFR or EGFR mutants, the overexpression of CHIP selectively decreased the expression of certain EGFR mutants (G719S, L747_E749del A750P and L858R) but not WT EGFR. In a pull-down assay, CHIP selectively interacted with EGFR mutants and simultaneously induced their ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. The expressions of mutant EGFR in PC9 and H1975 were diminished by CHIP, while the expression of WT EGFR in A549 was nearly not affected. In addition, CHIP overexpression inhibited cell proliferation and xenograft's tumor growth of EGFR mutant cell lines, but not WT EGFR cell lines. EGFR mutant specific ubiquitination by CHIP may provide a crucial regulating mechanism for EGFR in lung adenocarcinoma. Our results suggest that CHIP can be novel therapeutic target for overcoming the EGFR TKI resistance.