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J. Biol. Chem. 278 (37): 35049-35056

© 2003 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Transactivation Is Regulated by Glucose in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells*

Atsushi Konishi, and Bradford C. Berk {ddagger}

Center for Cardiovascular Research, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14642

Abstract: We hypothesized that glucose-mediated alterations in vascular smooth muscle cell signal transduction contribute to diabetic complications. We found enhanced AngII activation of Akt and extracellular ERK1/2 in vascular smooth muscle cells incubated with high glucose (27.5 mM) compared with low glucose (5.5 mM). Because AngII-mediated transactivation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is important in Akt and ERK1/2 activation, we studied the effects of glucose on EGFR function. The EGFR in cells cultured for 48 h in low glucose was smaller (145 kDa) than the EGFR in cells cultured with high glucose (170 kDa). The shift from the 170-kDa isoform to the 145-kDa isoform was reversible and dependent upon glucose concentration with EC50 ~ 1 mM. N-Glycosylation was responsible because peptide N-glycosidase F treatment of isolated 170-kDa EGFR yielded a single band at 145 kDa. Cell surface biotinylation showed that the 145-kDa EGFR was present on plasma membrane. AngII and other G-protein-coupled receptor ligands known to transactivate EGFR phosphorylated the 170-kDa EGFR but not the 145-kDa EGFR, whereas EGF, heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor, and transforming growth factor-{alpha} phosphorylated both receptors. Subcellular fractionation showed that the 145-kDa receptor localized to a different plasma membrane domain than the 170-kDa receptor. These results establish a novel mechanism by which glucose-dependent EGFR N-glycosylation modulates AngII signal transduction and suggest a potential mechanism for pathogenic effects of AngII in diabetic vasculopathy.

Received for publication May 9, 2003. Revision received June 15, 2003.

* The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked "advertisement" in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

{ddagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed: Center for Cardiovascular Research, University of Rochester, 601 Elmwood Ave., Box 679, Rochester, NY 14642. Tel.: 585-273-1946; Fax: 585-273-1497; E-mail: bradford_berk{at}

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