PRMT1-mediated methylation of the EGF receptor regulates signaling and cetuximab response

Hsin Wei Liao, Jung Mao Hsu, Weiya Xia, Hung Ling Wang, Ying Nai Wang, Wei Chao Chang, Stefan T. Arold, Chao Kai Chou, Pei Hsiang Tsou, Hirohito Yamaguchi, Yueh Fu Fang, Hong Jen Lee, Heng Huan Lee, Shyh Kuan Tai, Mhu Hwa Yang, Maria P. Morelli, Malabika Sen, John E. Ladbury, Chung Hsuan Chen, Jennifer R. GrandisScott Kopetz, Mien Chie Hung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Posttranslational modifications to the intracellular domain of the EGFR are known to regulate EGFR functions; however, modifications to the extracellular domain and their effects remain relatively unexplored. Here, we determined that methylation at R198 and R200 of the EGFR extracellular domain by protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1) enhances binding to EGF and subsequent receptor dimerization and signaling activation. In a mouse orthotopic colorectal cancer xenograft model, expression of a methylation-defective EGFR reduced tumor growth. Moreover, increased EGFR methylation sustained signaling activation and cell proliferation in the presence of the therapeutic EGFR monoclonal antibody cetuximab. In colorectal cancer patients, EGFR methylation level also correlated with a higher recurrence rate after cetuximab treatment and reduced overall survival. Together, these data indicate that R198/R200 methylation of the EGFR plays an important role in regulating EGFR functionality and resistance to cetuximab treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4529-4543
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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