Quantitative Imaging of Lateral ErbB1 Receptor Signal Propagation in the Plasma Membrane

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Science  24 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5496, pp. 1567-1570
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5496.1567

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Evidence for a new signaling mechanism consisting of ligand-independent lateral propagation of receptor activation in the plasma membrane is presented. We visualized the phosphorylation of green fluorescent protein (GFP)–tagged ErbB1 (ErbB1-GFP) receptors in cells focally stimulated with epidermal growth factor (EGF) covalently attached to beads. This was achieved by quantitative imaging of protein reaction states in cells by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) with global analysis of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) data. The rapid and extensive propagation of receptor phosphorylation over the entire cell after focal stimulation demonstrates a signaling wave at the plasma membrane resulting in full activation of all receptors.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: philippe.bastiaens{at}

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