The epidermal growth factor receptor is involved in morphogenesis, proliferation and cell migration. Its up-regulation during tumorigenesis makes this receptor an interesting therapeutic target. In the absence of the ligand, the inhibition of phosphatidic acid phosphohydrolase activity by propranolol treatment leads to internalization of empty/inactive receptors. The molecular events involved in this endocytosis remain unknown. Here, we quantified the effects of propranolol on the mobility of single quantum-dot labelled receptors before the actual internalization took place. The single receptors showed a clear stop-and-go motion; their diffusive tracks were continuously interrupted by subsecond stalling events, presumably caused by transient clustering. In the presence of propranolol we found that: i) the diffusion rate reduced by 22 %, which indicates an increase in drag of the receptor. Atomic force microscopy measurements did not show an increase of the effective membrane tension, such that clustering of the receptor remains the likely mechanism for its reduced mobility. ii) The receptor got frequently stalled for longer periods of multiple seconds, which may signal the first step of the internalization process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)