Noninvasive imaging and quantification of epidermal growth factor receptor kinase activation in vivo.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) critical in tumor growth and a major target for anticancer drug development. However, thus far, there is no effective system to monitor its activities in vivo. Here, we report a novel approach to monitor EGFR activation based on the bifragment luciferase reconstitution system. The EGFR receptor and its interacting partner proteins (EGFR, growth factor receptor binding protein 2, and Src homology 2 domain-containing) were fused to NH(2) terminal and COOH terminal fragments of the firefly luciferase. After establishing tumor xenograft from cells transduced with the reporter genes, we show that the activation of EGFR and its downstream factors could be quantified through optical imaging of reconstituted luciferase. Changes in EGFR activation could be visualized after radiotherapy or EGFR inhibitor treatment. Rapid and sustained radiation-induced EGFR activation and inhibitor-mediated signal suppression were observed in the same xenograft tumors over a period of weeks. Our data therefore suggest a new methodology where activities of RTKs can be imaged and quantified optically in mice. This approach should be generally applicable to study biological regulation of RTK, as well as to develop and evaluate novel RTK-targeted therapeutics.
Li, W; Li, F; Huang, Q; Frederick, B; Bao, S; Li, C-Y
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