Engineering of an anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibody to single chain format and labeling by Sortase A-mediated protein ligation.
Epidermal growth factor (EGF) at 3 nM maximally inhibits the proliferation of A431 epidermoid carcinoma cells. We show that at lower concentrations, in the range of 3-100 pM, EGF has a mitogenic effect on A431 cells. In the presence of 100 nM anti-EGF-receptor monoclonal IgG (designated 528), which inhibits A431 cell proliferation and blocks greater than 95% of EGF binding, EGF becomes mitogenic for A431 cells at concentrations up to 3 nM. These results suggest that a minor population of high-affinity EGF receptors may be involved in stimulation of A431 cell proliferation. Saturation binding assays with 125I-labeled EGF indicate that approximately equal to 0.1-0.2% of receptors for EGF are high-affinity receptors that bind EGF with an estimated Kd of 7 X 10(-11) M. This affinity is nearly 2 orders of magnitude higher than that of the remaining EGF receptors. Although A431 cell proliferation is maximally inhibited by nonsaturating amounts of EGF (3 nM), maximal inhibition by 528 IgG (approximately equal to 70% of maximal inhibition by EGF) requires saturating concentrations of antibody (approximately equal to 15 nM). Unlike EGF, rapid down-regulation is not observed with 528 IgG. These results indicate different mechanisms of growth inhibition of A431 cells by EGF and 528 IgG.