Multiple Consequences of a Single Amino Acid Pathogenic RTK Mutation: The A391E Mutation in FGFR3

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The A391E mutation in fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) is the genetic cause for Crouzon syndrome with Acanthosis Nigricans. Here we investigate the effect of this mutation on FGFR3 activation in HEK 293 T cells over a wide range of fibroblast growth factor 1 concentrations using a physical-chemical approach that deconvolutes the effects of the mutation on dimerization, ligand binding, and efficiency of phosphorylation. It is believed that the mutation increases FGFR3 dimerization, and our results verify this. However, our results also demonstrate that the increase in dimerization is not the sole effect of the mutation, as the mutation also facilitates the phosphorylation of critical tyrosines in the activation loop of FGFR3. The activation of mutant FGFR3 is substantially increased due to a combination of these two effects. The low expression of the mutant, however, attenuates its signaling and may explain the mild phenotype in Crouzon syndrome with Acanthosis Nigricans. The results presented here provide new knowledge about the physical basis behind growth disorders and highlight the fact that a single RTK mutation may affect multiple steps in RTK activation.
Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 3, Craniofacial Dysostosis, Amino Acid Substitution, Acanthosis Nigricans
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056521