Intracellular retention, degradation, and signaling of glycosylation-deficient FGFR2 and craniosynostosis syndrome-associated FGFR2C278F.
Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and their receptors (FGFRs) are known to play a critical role in a variety of fundamental processes, including wound healing, angiogenesis, and development of multiple organ systems. Mutations in the FGFR gene family have been linked to a series of syndromes (the craniosynostosis syndromes) whose primary phenotype involves aberrant development of the craniofacial skeleton. Craniosynostosis syndrome-linked FGFR mutations have been shown to be gain of function in terms of receptor activation and have been presumed to result in increased levels of FGF/FGFR signaling. Unfortunately, studies attempting to link expression of mutant FGFRs with changes in cellular phenotype have yielded conflicting results. In an effort to better understand the biochemical consequences of these mutations on receptor function, here we have investigated the effect of the FGFR2C278F mutation of Crouzon craniosynostosis syndrome on receptor trafficking, ubiquitination, degradation, and signaling. We find that FGFR2C278F exhibits diminished glycosylation, increased degradation, and limited cellular sublocalization in the osteoblastic cell line, MC3T3E1(C4). Additionally, we show that trafficking and autoactivation of wild type FGFR2 is glycosylation-dependent. Both FGFR2C278F and unglycosylated wild type FGFR2 signal through phospholipase Cgamma in a ligand-independent manner as well as exhibit dramatically increased binding to the adaptor protein, Frs2. These findings suggest that autoactive FGFR2 can signal from intracellular compartments. Based upon our results, we propose that the functional signaling of craniosynostosis mutant, autoactive receptors is limited in some cell types by protective cellular responses, such as increased trafficking to lysosomes and proteasomes for degradation.