Faculty Research 1980 - 1989


Diminished in vitro tyrosine kinase activity of the EGF receptor of senescent human fibroblasts.

Document Type


Publication Date



Cell-Line, Cell-Survival, Fibroblasts, Human, Phosphorylation, Protein-Kinases: me, Receptors-Endogenous-Substances: me, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S

JAX Source

Nature 1983 Dec 8-14;306(5943):617-20


CA18470, CA10815, AG00378


Fibroblastic cultures derived from normal human tissues undergo a finite number of population doublings when serially subcultivated in vitro (see refs 1, 2 for reviews). Epidermal growth factor (EGF) serves as a mitogen for early doubling level cultures of the human fetal lung-derived cell strain, WI-38, under serum-free conditions. The ability of cells from late doubling level cultures to respond mitogenically to EGF is lost, however, despite undiminished binding of EGF throughout the replicative lifespan. The ultimate effects of EGF, that is DNA synthesis and mitosis (see ref. 4 for review), occur after a sequence of events initiated by binding of ligand to specific cellular receptors. The receptor for EGF has been characterized as a 145,000-165,000 (145 K-165 K) molecular weight doublet, and, like the receptors for platelet-derived growth factor and insulin, and the transforming proteins of certain of the RNA tumour viruses, is a tyrosine-specific protein kinase with autophosphorylating activity. Moreover, several of the cellular target molecules of tyrosine phosphorylation have been found to be substrates for two or more of these kinases. The hypothesis that tyrosine phosphorylation underlies a common mechanism of growth control prompted us to ask whether the loss of responsiveness to EGF by late doubling level WI-38 cells is accompanied by altered expression of the EGF receptor, and specifically whether changes occur in the ability of receptors from populations of cells of various in vitro ages to catalyse tyrosine autophosphorylation. We show here that autophosphorylating activity is absent from the EGF receptor of cells which have lost their mitogenic responsiveness to EGF.

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