Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Biomedical Sciences

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Reuben Lotan

Committee Member

Richard Clark

Committee Member

Zhen Fan

Committee Member

Sue-Hwa Lin

Committee Member

Xiaochun Xu


The retinoic acid inducible G protein coupled receptor family C group 5 type A (GPRC5A) is expressed preferentially in normal lung tissue but its expression is suppressed in the majority of human non-small cell lung cancer cell lines and tissues. This differential expression has led to the idea that GPRC5A is a potential tumor suppressor. This notion was supported by the finding that mice with a deletion of the Gprc5a gene develop spontaneous lung tumors. However, there are various tumor cell lines and tissue samples, including lung, that exhibit higher GPRC5A expression than normal tissues and some reports by other groups that GPRC5A transfection increased cell growth and colony formation. Obviously, GPRC5A has failed to suppress the development of the tumors and the growth of the cell lines where its expression is not suppressed. Since no mutations were detected in the coding sequence of GPRC5A in 20 NSCLC cell lines, it’s possible that GPRC5A acts as a tumor suppressor in the context of some cells but not in others. Alternatively, we raised the hypothesis that the GPRC5A protein may be inactivated by posttranslational modification(s) such as phosphorylation. It is well established that Serine/Threonine phosphorylation of G protein coupled receptors leads to their desensitization and in a few cases Tyrosine phosphorylation of GPCRs has been linked to internalization. Others reported that GPRC5A can undergo tyrosine phosphorylation in the cytoplasmic domain after treatment of normal human mammary epithelial cells (HMECs) with epidermal growth factor (EGF) or Heregulin. This suggested that GPRC5A is a substrate of EGFR. Therefore, we hypothesized that tyrosine phosphorylation of GPRC5A by activation of EGFR signaling may lead to its inactivation. To test this hypothesis, we transfected human embryo kidney (HEK) 293 cells with GPRC5A and EGFR expression vectors and confirmed that GPRC5A can be tyrosine phosphorylated after activation of EGFR by EGF. Further, we found that EGFR and GPRC5A can interact either directly or through other proteins and that inhibition of the EGFR kinase activity decreased the phosphorylation of GPRA5A and the interaction between GPRC5A and EGFR. In c-terminal of GPRC5A, There are four tyrosine residues Y317, Y320, Y347, Y350. We prepared GPRC5A mutants in which all four tyrosine residues had been replaced by phenylalanine (mutant 4F) or each individual Tyr residue was replaced by Phe and found that Y317 is the major site for EGFR mediated phosphorylation in the HEK293T cell line. We also found that EGF can induce GPRC5A internalization both in H1792 transient and stable cell lines. EGF also partially inactivates the suppressive function of GPRC5A on cell invasion activity and anchorage-independent growth ability of H1792 stable cell lines. These finding support our hypothesis that GPRC5A may be inactivated by posttranslational modification- tyrosine phosphorylation.


GPRC5A, Tyrosine phosphorylation, EGFR



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