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Identification of a form of the avian erythroblastosis virus erb-B gene product at the cell surface


Avian erythroblastosis virus (AEV) induces both erythroblastosis and fibrosarcoma in chickens1. The viral oncogene responsible for these diseases, erb, is divided into two regions, erb-A and erb-B, although recent evidence suggests that it is primarily the erb-B gene product that is responsible for the transforming activity2–5. The erb-B gene product has been reported previously to be a membrane glycoprotein of 68,000 molecular weight (MW), gp68erb-B (refs 6, 7). However, we show here that gp68erb-B is an in tracei lu lar precursor which is modified further to a 74,000 MW protein, gp74erb-B. By the criteria of resistance to digestion with endoglycosidase H, subcellular fractionation and inhibition of biosynthesis by the ionophore monensin, gp74erb-B appears to be located at the cell surface. Recently, a comparison of the erb-B sequence8 with that of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor has shown that these two genes are highly homologous9, and that erb-B appears to represent a truncated form of this growth factor. In light of these data the identification of gp74erb-B at the plasma membrane suggests that this may be the functionally important form of the erb-B gene product.

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Hayman, M., Beug, H. Identification of a form of the avian erythroblastosis virus erb-B gene product at the cell surface. Nature 309, 460–462 (1984).

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