The epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor is a tyrosine kinase that dimerizes in response to ligand binding. Ligand-induced dimerization of the extracellular domain of the receptor promotes formation of an asymmetric dimer of the intracellular kinase domains, leading to stimulation of the tyrosine kinase activity of the receptor. We recently monitored ligand-promoted conformational changes within the EGF receptor in real time using luciferase fragment complementation imaging and showed that there was significant movement of the C-terminal tail of the EGF receptor following EGF binding (Yang, K. S., Ilagan, M. X. G., Piwnica-Worms, D., and Pike, L. J. (2009) J. Biol. Chem. 284, 7474-7482). To investigate the structural basis for this conformational change, we analyzed the effect of several mutations on the kinase activity and luciferase fragment complementation activity of the EGF receptor. Mutation of Asp-960 and Glu-961, two residues at the beginning of the C-terminal tail, to alanine resulted in a marked enhancement of EGF-stimulated kinase activity as well as enhanced downstream signaling. The side chain of Asp-960 interacts with that of Ser-787. Mutation of Ser-787 to Phe, which precludes this interaction, also leads to enhanced receptor kinase activity. Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that Asp-960/Glu-961 represents a hinge or fulcrum for the movement of the C-terminal tail of the EGF receptor. Mutation of these residues destabilizes this hinge, facilitating the formation of the activating asymmetric dimer and leading to enhanced receptor signaling.