David J. Gross
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts
Ph.D.: University of Illinois
Postdoctoral Training: Cornell University
Honors: American Cancer Society Career Development Award
We primarily study the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a member of the tyrosine kinase receptor family. This 170 kDa receptor has an extracellular ligand binding domain, a single transmembrane spanning region, and an intracellular domain containing the tyrosine kinase and a regulatory subdomain. Within the regulatory region are five tyrosines that, when transphosphorylated by other EGFR, become SH2 docking sites for various signaling molecules. The EGFR is also known to be an actin binding molecule.
We employ quantitative fluorescence imaging, electrophysiology, recombinant DNA techniques, and biochemistry in our studies. We are working on effects of point mutations within the actin-binding domain of the EGFR on cellular endpoints such as control of EGFR ligand affinity, internalization, cell surface mobility and cytoskeletal interactions. We have made a green fluorescent protein-EGFR fusion protein that is useful for following EGFR processing (see figure). Other studies include examination of the role of EGFR on oocyte in vitro maturation and synthesis of a polyelectrolyte-EGF that may be useful in disrupting the endocytic pathway.