Growth suppression by ursodeoxycholic acid involves caveolin-1 enhanced degradation of EGFR

Rebecca Feldman, Jesse D. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has been shown to prevent colon tumorigenesis in animal models and in humans. In vitro work indicates that this bile acid can suppress cell growth and mitogenic signaling suggesting that UDCA may be an anti-proliferative agent. However, the mechanism by which UDCA functions is unclear. Previously we showed that bile acids may alter cellular signaling by acting at the plasma membrane. Here we utilized EGFR as a model membrane receptor and examined the effects that UDCA has on its functioning. We found that UDCA promoted an interaction between EGFR and caveolin-1 and this interaction enhanced UDCA-mediated suppression of MAP kinase activity and cell growth. Importantly, UDCA treatment led to recruitment of the ubiquitin ligase, c-Cbl, to the membrane, ubiquitination of EGFR, and increased receptor degradation. Moreover, suppression of c-Cbl activity abrogated UDCA's growth suppression activities suggesting that receptor ubiquitination plays an important role in UDCA's biological activities. Taken together these results suggest that UDCA may act to suppress cell growth by inhibiting the mitogenic activity of receptor tyrosine kinases such as EGFR through increased receptor degradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1394
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Bile acid
  • Chemoprevention
  • Colon cancer
  • Endocytosis
  • c-Cbl

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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