Somatostatin receptors 1 and 5 heterodimerize with epidermal growth factor receptor: agonist-dependent modulation of the downstream MAPK signalling pathway in breast cancer cells

Published on Tuesday, 15 July 2014


The role of somatostatin (SST) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) in breast cancer is undisputed; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying their antiproliferative or proliferative effects are not well understood.

We initially confirmed that breast tumour tissues express all five somatostatin receptors (SSTR1-5) and four epidermal growth factor receptors (ErbB1-4).

Subsequently, to gain insight into the function of SSTRs and ErbBs in oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive (MCF-7) or ERalpha-negative (MDA-MB-231) breast cancer cells, we defined SSTR1, SSTR5 and ErbB1 mRNA and protein expression in these two tumour cell lines.

Consistent with previous studies showing SSTR1/SSTR5 heterodimerization and having seen cell-specific and ligand-selective alterations in receptor expression, we next elucidated whether SSTR1 and SSTR5 functionally interact with ErbB1 using pbFRET analysis.

We subsequently determined the effects of SST and EGF either alone, or in combination, on selected downstream signalling molecules such as erk1/2, p38 and JNK.

Here, we showed that both SST and EGF influenced erk1/2 phosphorylation and that SST modulated the effects of EGF in a cell-specific manner. We also demonstrated agonist-, time and cell-dependent regulation of p38 phosphorylation.

We further investigated modulation of Grb2, SOS, Shc, SH-PTP1 and SH-PTP2. ErbB1 adaptor proteins known to play a role in MAPK activation, Shc, Grb2 and SOS, changed in an agonist- and cell-specific manner whereas, SH-PTP1 and SH-PTP2, adaptor proteins reported to interact with SSTRs, translocated from the cytosol to membrane in a cell-specific manner following SST and/or EGF treatment.

Although several previous studies have shown crosstalk between RTKs and GPCRs, there are no reports describing SSTR (GPCR) modulation of ErbBs (RTK) in breast cancer. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report describing crosstalk/interactions between SSTRs and ErbBs.



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