Human betacellulin structure modeled from other members of EGF family

Inés López-Torrejón, Enrique Querol, Francesc Avilés, Masaharu Seno, Rafael de Llorens, Baldomero Oliva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We have modeled betacellulin (BTC) to gain insight into the structural elements that can explain its properties. The epidermal growth factor (EGF) signal transduction pathway, a significant mediator of several cell functions, is based on four closely related tyrosine kinase receptors. The ErbB receptors are transmembrane glycoproteins and signal transduction is initiated by ligand binding that induces receptor homo- or heterodimerization to form a complex containing two molecules of ligand and two molecules of receptor. The EGF family of ligands can be divided into three groups based on their ability to bind and activate distinct ErbB receptor homo- and heterodimers. Each member of the group formed by BTC, heparin binding EGF (HB-EGF) and epiregulin (EP) can interact with both the EGF receptor (EGFR) and heregulin receptors (ErbB-3 and ErbB-4), and are hence called "bispecific" ligands. BTC and EP also present the distinctive feature that they activate all possible heterodimeric ErbB receptors. BTC has Been modeled with the program MODELLER, using human EGF, human transforming growth factor alpha (hTGFα), human HB-EGF and human heregulin one alpha (hHRG-1α) as templates. The structure of the model as well as that of the templates were optimized and a simulation of 100 ps was run for all. The main structural properties of the model and the templates were compared and in conclusion the hBTC conformation was closely similar to that of hTGFα.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-144
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular Modeling
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Betacellulin
  • Epidermal growth factors
  • ErbB receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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