Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) belongs to a family of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) that include EGFR/ERBB1, HER2/ERBB2/NEU, HER3/ERBB3, and HER4/ERBB4. The binding of ligands, such as epidermal growth factor (EGF), induces a conformational change that facilitates receptor homo- or heterodimer formation, thereby resulting in activation of EGFR tyrosine kinase activity. Activated EGFR then phosphorylates its substrates, resulting in activation of multiple downstream pathways within the cell, including the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway, which is involved in cell survival, and the RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK pathway, which is involved in cell proliferation (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Schematic of EGFR signaling pathway. Growth factor binding to EGFR results in activation of the MAPK signaling pathway (RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK) and the PI3K pathway (PI3K-AKT-mTOR). The letter "K" within the schema denotes the tyrosine kinase domain.
Last Updated: October 16, 2013