Structural basis for fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 activation in Apert syndrome

Omar A. Ibrahimi, Anna V. Eliseenkova, Alexander N. Plotnikov, Kai Yu, David M. Ornitz, Moosa Mohammadi

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163 Scopus citations


Apert syndrome (AS) is characterized by craniosynostosis (premature fusion of cranial sutures) and severe syndactyly of the hands and feet. Two activating mutations, Ser-252 → Trp and Pro-253 → Arg, in fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) account for nearly ali known cases of AS. To elucidate the mechanism by which these substitutions cause AS, we determined the crystal structures of these two FGFR2 mutants in complex with fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2). These structures demonstrate that both mutations introduce additional interactions between FGFR2 and FGF2, thereby augmenting FGFR2-FGF2 affinity. Moreover, based on these structures and sequence alignment of the FGF family, we propose that the Pro-253 → Arg mutation will indiscriminately increase the affinity of FGFR2 toward any FGF. In contrast, the Ser-252 → Trp mutation will selectively enhance the affinity of FGFR2 toward a limited subset of FGFs. These predictions are consistent with previous biochemical data describing the effects of AS mutations on FGF binding. Alterations in FGFR2 ligand affinity and specificity may allow inappropriate autocrine or paracrine activation of FGFR2. Furthermore, the distinct gain-of-function interactions observed in each crystal structure provide a model to explain the phenotypic variability among AS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7182-7187
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 19 2001


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