The extracellular region of ErbB4 adopts a tethered conformation in the absence of ligand

Samuel Bouyain, Patti A. Longo, Shiqing Li, Kathryn M. Ferguson, Daniel J. Leahy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


The human Erb B family of receptor tyrosine kinases comprises the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR/ErbB1/HER1), ErbB2 (HER2/Neu), ErbB3 (HER3), and ErbB4 (HER4). ErbBs play fundamental roles in cell growth and differentiation events in embryonic and adult tissues, and inappropriate ErbB activity has been implicated in several human cancers. We report here the 2.4 Å crystal structure of the extracellular region of human ErbB4 in the absence of ligand and show that it adopts a tethered conformation similar to inactive forms of ErbB1 and ErbB3. This structure completes the gallery of unliganded ErbB receptors and demonstrates that all human ligand-binding ErbBs adopt the autoinhibited conformation. We also show that the binding of neuregulin-1/3 to ErbB4 and ErbB3 and the binding of betacellulin to both ErbB4 and ErbB1 does not decrease at low pH, unlike the binding of epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor-α to ErbB1. These results indicate an important role for ligand in determining pH-dependent binding and may explain different responses observed when the same ErbB receptor is stimulated by different ligands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15024-15029
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 18 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Growth factor receptor
  • HER/ErbB
  • Receptor tyrosine kinase
  • Structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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