Scientific reports

A role of the SAM domain in EphA2 receptor activation.

PMID 28338017


Among the 20 subfamilies of protein receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), Eph receptors are unique in possessing a sterile alpha motif (SAM domain) at their C-terminal ends. However, the functions of SAM domains in Eph receptors remain elusive. Here we report on a combined cell biology and quantitative fluorescence study to investigate the role of the SAM domain in EphA2 function. We observed elevated tyrosine autophosphorylation levels upon deletion of the EphA2 SAM domain (EphA2ΔS) in DU145 and PC3 prostate cancer cells and a skin tumor cell line derived from EphA1/A2 knockout mice. These results suggest that SAM domain deletion induced constitutive activation of EphA2 kinase activity. In order to explain these effects, we applied fluorescence correlation spectroscopy to investigate the lateral molecular organization of EphA2. Our results indicate that SAM domain deletion (EphA2ΔS-GFP) increases oligomerization compared to the full length receptor (EphA2FL-GFP). Stimulation with ephrinA1, a ligand for EphA2, induced further oligomerization and activation of EphA2FL-GFP. The SAM domain deletion mutant, EphA2ΔS-GFP, also underwent further oligomerization upon ephrinA1 stimulation, but the oligomers were larger than those observed for EphA2FL-GFP. Based on these results, we conclude that the EphA2 SAM domain inhibits kinase activity by reducing receptor oligomerization.