J Cancer 2017; 8(5):903-912. doi:10.7150/jca.17961

Research Paper

Analysis of Origin and Protein-Protein Interaction Maps Suggests a Distinct Oncogenic Role of Nuclear EGFR during Cancer Evolution

Ainur Sharip1*, Diyora Abdukhakimova1*, Xiao Wang2, Alexey Kim1, Yevgeniy Kim1, Aigul Sharip1, Askarbek Orakov1, Lixia Miao3, Qinglei Sun2, Yue Chen4, Zhenbang Chen5, Yingqiu Xie1*✉

1. Department of Biology, School of Science and Technology, Nazarbayev University, Astana, 010000, Republic of Kazakhstan;
2. Shandong Analysis and Test Center, Shandong Academy of Sciences, 19 keyuan Street, Jinan, 250014, P.R. China;
3. College of Basic Medicine, Wuhan University, Wuhan, 430071, P.R. China;
4. Department of Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 37203, USA;
5. Department of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN, 37201, USA.
* Co-first authors


Receptor tyrosine kinase EGFR is usually localized on plasma membrane inducing the progression of many cancers including malignancy in children (Bodey et al. In Vivo. 2005, 19:931-41), but it contains a nuclear localization signal (NLS) that mediates EGFR nuclear translocation (Lin et al. Nat Cell Biol. 2001, 3:802-8). In this report, we claim that NLS of EGFR has an old evolutionary origin. In particular, our analysis of protein-protein interaction maps reveals that nuclear EGFR (nEGFR) pathways are different from that of membrane EGFR and EGF is not found in nEGFR network, while androgen receptor (AR) is found, which suggests the evolution of prostate cancer, a well-known AR driven cancer, through changes in androgen- or EGF-dependence. Database analysis shows that nEGFR correlates with the tumor grades especially in prostate cancer patients. Structural prediction analysis indicates that NLS can compromise the differential protein binding to EGFR through stretch linkers with evolutionary mutation from N to V. In the experiment, elevation of nEGFR but not membrane EGFR was found in castration resistant prostate cancer cells. Finally, systems analysis of NLS and transmembrane domain (TM) suggests that NLS has an old origin while NLS neighboring domain of TM has undergone accelerated evolution. Thus, nEGFR has an old origin resembling the cancer evolution, but TM may interfere NLS driven signaling for natural selection of survival to evade NLS induced aggressive cancers. Our data support NLS is a dynamic inducer of EGFR oncogenesis during evolution for advanced cancers. Our model provides a novel insight into the evolutionary role of NLS in oncogenic kinases in cancers.

Keywords: NLS, EGFR, prostate cancer.

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How to cite this article:
Sharip A, Abdukhakimova D, Wang X, Kim A, Kim Y, Sharip A, Orakov A, Miao L, Sun Q, Chen Y, Chen Z, Xie Y. Analysis of Origin and Protein-Protein Interaction Maps Suggests a Distinct Oncogenic Role of Nuclear EGFR during Cancer Evolution. J Cancer 2017; 8(5):903-912. doi:10.7150/jca.17961. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v08p0903.htm