Author(s): Telesco SE, Radhakrishnan R
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Abstract HER2 (ErbB2/Neu) is a receptor tyrosine kinase belonging to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)/ErbB family and is overexpressed in 20-30\% of human breast cancers. Although several crystal structures of ErbB kinases have been solved, the precise mechanism of HER2 activation remains unknown, and it has been suggested that HER2 is unique in its requirement for phosphorylation of Y877, a key tyrosine residue located in the activation loop. To elucidate mechanistic details of kinase domain regulation, we performed molecular dynamics simulations of a homology-modeled HER2 kinase structure in active and inactive conformations. Principal component analysis of the atomistic fluctuations reveals a tight coupling between the activation loop and catalytic loop that may contribute to alignment of residues required for catalysis in the active kinase. The free energy perturbation method is also employed to predict a role for phosphorylated Y877 in stabilizing the kinase conformations. Finally, simulation results are presented for a HER2/EGFR heterodimer and reveal that the dimeric interface induces a rearrangement of the alphaC helix toward the active conformation. Elucidation of the molecular regulatory mechanisms in HER2 will help establish structure-function relationships in the wild-type kinase, as well as predict mutations with a propensity for constitutive activation in HER2-mediated cancers.
This article was published in Biophys J
and referenced in Journal of Thermodynamics & Catalysis