Sorting nexin-dependent therapeutic targeting of oncogenic epidermal growth factor receptor

Benjamin Atwell, Cheng Yu Chen, Matthew Christofferson, William R. Montfort, Joyce Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Overexpression and/or overactivation of the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) is oncogenic in several tumor types yet targeting the kinase domain of wildtype EGFR has had limited success. EGFR has numerous kinase-independent roles, one of which is accomplished through the Sorting Nexin-dependent retrotranslocation of EGFR to the nucleus, which is observed in some metastatic cancers and therapeutically resistant disease. Here, we have utilized the BAR domain of Sorting Nexin 1 to create a peptide-based therapeutic (cSNX1.3) that promotes cell death in EGFR-expressing cancer. We evaluated the efficacy of cSNX1.3 in tumor-bearing WAP-TGFα transgenic mice (an EGFR-dependent model of breast cancer), where cSNX1.3 treatment resulted in significant tumor regression without observable toxicity. Evaluation of remaining tumor tissues found evidence of increased PARP cleavage, suggesting apoptotic tumor cell death. To evaluate the mechanism of action for cSNX1.3, we found that cSNX1.3 binds the C-terminus of the EGFR kinase domain at an interface site opposite the ATP binding domain with a Kd of ~4.0 µM. In vitro analysis found that cSNX1.3 inhibits the nuclear localization of EGFR. To determine specificity, we evaluated cancer cell lines expressing wildtype EGFR (MDA-MB-468, BT20 and A549), mutant EGFR (H1975) and non-transformed lines (CHO and MCF10A). Only transformed lines expressing wildtype EGFR responded to cSNX1.3, while mutant EGFR and normal cells responded better to an EGFR kinase inhibitor. Phenotypically, cSNX1.3 inhibits EGF-, NRG-, and HGF-dependent migration, but not HA-dependent migration. Together, these data indicate that targeting retrotranslocation of EGFR may be a potent therapeutic for RTK-active cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-276
Number of pages10
JournalCancer gene therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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