Shih, Andrew

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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Molecular Systems Biology of ErbB1 Signaling: Bridging the Gap through Multiscale Modeling and High-Performance Computing
    (2008-12-01) Shih, Andrew; Radhakrishnan, Ravi; Purvis, Jeremy
    The complexity in intracellular signaling mechanisms relevant for the conquest of many diseases resides at different levels of organization with scales ranging from the subatomic realm relevant to catalytic functions of enzymes to the mesoscopic realm relevant to the cooperative association of molecular assemblies and membrane processes. Consequently, the challenge of representing and quantifying functional or dysfunctional modules within the networks remains due to the current limitations in our understanding of mesoscopic biology, i.e., how the components assemble into functional molecular ensembles. A multiscale approach is necessary to treat a hierarchy of interactions ranging from molecular (nm, ns) to signaling (μm, ms) length and time scales, which necessitates the development and application of specialized modeling tools. Complementary to multiscale experimentation (encompassing structural biology, mechanistic enzymology, cell biology, and single molecule studies) multiscale modeling offers a powerful and quantitative alternative for the study of functional intracellular signaling modules. Here, we describe the application of a multiscale approach to signaling mediated by the ErbB1 receptor which constitutes a network hub for the cell’s proliferative, migratory, and survival programs. Through our multiscale model, we mechanistically describe how point-mutations in the ErbB1 receptor can profoundly alter signaling characteristics leading to the onset of oncogenic transformations. Specifically, we describe how the point mutations induce cascading fragility mechanisms at the molecular scale as well as at the scale of the signaling network to preferentially activate the survival factor Akt. We provide a quantitative explanation for how the hallmark of preferential Akt activation in cell-lines harboring the constitutively active mutant ErbB1 receptors causes these cell-lines to be addicted to ErbB1-mediated generation of survival signals. Consequently, inhibition of ErbB1 activity leads to a remarkable therapeutic response in the addicted cell lines.
  • Publication
    Unveiling the Molecular Mechanisms Regulating the Activation of the ErbB Family Receptors at Atomic Resolution through Molecular Modeling and Simulations
    (2011-05-16) Shih, Andrew
    The EGFR/ErbB/HER family of kinases contains four homologous receptor tyrosine kinases that are important regulatory elements in key signaling pathways. To elucidate the atomistic mechanisms of dimerization-dependent activation in the ErbB family, we have performed molecular dynamics simulations of the intracellular kinase domains of the four members of the ErbB family (those with known kinase activity), namely EGFR, ErbB2 (HER2) and ErbB4 (HER4) as well as ErbB3 (HER3), an assumed pseudokinase, in different molecular contexts: monomer vs. dimer, wildtype vs. mutant. Using bioinformatics and fluctuation analyses of the molecular dynamics trajectories, we relate sequence similarities to correspondence of specific bond-interaction networks and collective dynamical modes. We find that in the active conformation of the ErbB kinases (except ErbB3), key subdomain motions are coordinated through conserved hydrophilic interactions: activating bond-networks consisting of hydrogen bonds and salt bridges. The inactive conformations also demonstrate conserved bonding patterns (albeit less extensive) that sequester key residues and disrupt the activating bond network. Both conformational states have distinct hydrophobic advantages through context-specific hydrophobic interactions. The inactive ErbB3 kinase domain also shows coordinated motions similar to the active conformations, in line with recent evidence that ErbB3 is a weakly active kinase, though the coordination seems to arise from hydrophobic interactions rather than hydrophilic ones. We show that the functional (activating) asymmetric kinase dimer interface forces a corresponding change in the hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions that characterize the inactivating interaction network, resulting in motion of the αC-helix through allostery. Several of the clinically identified activating kinase mutations of EGFR act in a similar fashion to disrupt the inactivating interaction network. Our molecular dynamics study reveals the asymmetric dimer interface helps progress the ErbB family through the activation pathway using both hydrophilic and hydrophobic interaction. There is a fundamental difference in the sequence of events in EGFR activation compared with that described for the Src kinase Hck.