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EMBO J. 2007 Sep 5;26(17):3957-67. Epub 2007 Aug 2.

TGF-beta activates Erk MAP kinase signalling through direct phosphorylation of ShcA.

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  • 1Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.


Erk1/Erk2 MAP kinases are key regulators of cell behaviour and their activation is generally associated with tyrosine kinase signalling. However, TGF-beta stimulation also activates Erk MAP kinases through an undefined mechanism, albeit to a much lower level than receptor tyrosine kinase stimulation. We report that upon TGF-beta stimulation, the activated TGF-beta type I receptor (TbetaRI) recruits and directly phosphorylates ShcA proteins on tyrosine and serine. This dual phosphorylation results from an intrinsic TbetaRI tyrosine kinase activity that complements its well-defined serine-threonine kinase function. TGF-beta-induced ShcA phosphorylation induces ShcA association with Grb2 and Sos, thereby initiating the well-characterised pathway linking receptor tyrosine kinases with Erk MAP kinases. We also found that TbetaRI is tyrosine phosphorylated in response to TGF-beta. Thus, TbetaRI, like the TGF-beta type II receptor, is a dual-specificity kinase. Recruitment of tyrosine kinase signalling pathways may account for aspects of TGF-beta biology that are independent of Smad signalling.

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