Activated epidermal growth factor receptor induces integrin alpha2 internalization via caveolae/raft-dependent endocytic pathway. Academic Article uri icon


  • Elevated expression or activity of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor is common in ovarian cancer and is associated with poor patient prognosis. Our previous studies demonstrated that expression of the constitutively active mutant form of the EGF receptor (EGFRvIII) in ovarian cancer cells led to reduction in integrin alpha2 surface expression, defects in cell spreading, and disruption of focal adhesions. Inhibition of EGFRvIII catalytic activity reversed the response, suggesting that EGF receptor activation regulates integrin alpha2. In this study we found that EGF treatment resulted in a transient loss of integrin alpha2 from the cell surface. Before EGF stimulation, integrin alpha2 and EGF receptors were associated based on biochemical and immuno-colocalization approaches. After EGF treatment, EGF receptor and integrin alpha2 were internalized and segregated into different compartments. Integrin alpha2, but not EGF receptor, was associated with caveolin-1 and GM1 (Gal_1,3GalNAc_1,4(Neu5Ac-_ 2,3)Gal_1,4Glc_1,1-ceramide) gangliosides, suggesting caveolae-mediated endocytosis. Moreover, integrin alpha2 was subsequently targeted to the Golgi apparatus and the endoplasmic reticulum. Together, these findings demonstrate that activated EGF receptor transiently modulates integrin alpha2 cell surface expression and stimulates integrin alpha2 trafficking via caveolae/raft-mediated endocytosis, representing a novel mechanism by which the EGF receptor may regulate integrin-mediated cell behavior.

publication date

  • January 1, 2007