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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Epidermal growth factor receptor mutation in combination with expression of MIG6 alters gefitinib sensitivity

Yoshimi Naruo12, Takeshi Nagashima1, Ryoko Ushikoshi-Nakayama1, Yuko Saeki1, Takashi Nakakuki3, Takashi Naka4, Hiroshi Tanaka2, Shih-Feng Tsai5 and Mariko Okada-Hatakeyama1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory for Cellular Systems Modeling, RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology (RCAI), 1-7-22 Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 230-0045, Japan

2 Department of Systems Biology, Bioinformatics, Graduate School of Biomedical Science, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo 113-8510, Japan

3 Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Kogakuin University, 1-24-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-8677, Japan

4 Department of Information Science, Faculty of Information Science, Kyushu Sangyo University, 2-3-1 Matsukadai, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka 813-8503, Japan

5 Division of Molecular and Genomic Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, 35 Keyan Road, Zhunan, Miaoli 350, Taiwan

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BMC Systems Biology 2011, 5:29  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-5-29

Published: 18 February 2011



Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling plays an important role in the regulation of cell proliferation, survival, metastasis, and invasion in various tumors. Earlier studies showed that the EGFR is frequently overexpressed in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and EGFR mutations at specific amino acid residues in the kinase domain induce altered responsiveness to gefitinib, a small molecule EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor. However, the mechanism underlying the drug response modulated by EGFR mutation is still largely unknown. To elucidate drug response in EGFR signal transduction pathway in which complex dynamics of multiple molecules involved, a systematic approach is necessary. In this paper, we performed experimental and computational analyses to clarify the underlying mechanism of EGFR signaling and cell-specific gefitinib responsiveness in three H1299-derived NSCLC cell lines; H1299 wild type (H1299WT), H1299 with an overexpressed wild type EGFR (H1299EGFR-WT), and H1299 with an overexpressed mutant EGFR L858R (H1299L858R; gefitinib sensitive mutant).


We predicted and experimentally verified that Mig6, which is a known negative regulator of EGFR and specifically expressed in H1299L858R cells, synergized with gefitinib to suppress cellular growth. Computational analyses indicated that this inhibitory effect is amplified at the phosphorylation/dephosphorylation steps of MEK and ERK.


Thus, we showed that L858R receptor mutation in combination with expression of its negative regulator, Mig6, alters signaling outcomes and results in variable drug sensitivity.