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J Biol Chem. 2001 Dec 28;276(52):48679-92. Epub 2001 Oct 17.

Hyaluronan promotes CD44v3-Vav2 interaction with Grb2-p185(HER2) and induces Rac1 and Ras signaling during ovarian tumor cell migration and growth.

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Enocrine Unit, Department of Medicine, University of California and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California 94121, USA.


In this study we initially examined the interaction between CD44v3 (a hyaluronan (HA) receptor) and Vav2 (a guanine nucleotide exchange factor) in human ovarian tumor cells (SK-OV-3.ipl cell line). Immunological data indicate that both CD44v3 and Vav2 are expressed in SK-OV-3.ipl cells and that these two proteins are physically linked as a complex in vivo. By using recombinant fragments of Vav2 and in vitro binding assays, we have detected a specific binding interaction between the SH3-SH2-SH3 domain of Vav2 and the cytoplasmic domain of CD44. In addition, we have observed that the binding of HA to CD44v3 activates Vav2-mediated Rac1 signaling leading to ovarian tumor cell migration. Further analyses indicate that the adaptor molecule, growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb2) that is bound to p185(HER2) (an oncogene product), is also associated with the CD44v3-Vav2 complex. HA binding to SK-OV-3.ipl cells promotes recruitment of both Grb2 and p185(HER2) to the CD44v3-Vav2 complex leading to Ras activation and ovarian tumor cell growth. In order to determine the role of Grb2 in CD44v3 signaling, we have transfected SK-OV-3.ipl cells with Grb2 mutant cDNAs (e.g. Delta N-Grb2 that has a deletion in the amino-terminal SH3 domain or Delta C-Grb2 that has a deletion in the carboxyl-terminal SH3 domain). Our results clearly indicate that the SH3 domain deletion mutants of Grb2 (i.e. the Delta N-Grb2 (and to a lesser extent the Delta C-Grb2) mutant) not only block their association with p185(HER2) but also significantly impair their binding to the CD44v3-Vav2 complex and inhibit HA/CD44v3-induced ovarian tumor cell behaviors. Taken together, these findings strongly suggest that the interaction of CD44v3-Vav2 with Grb2-p185(HER2) plays an important role in the co-activation of both Rac1 and Ras signaling that is required for HA-mediated human ovarian tumor progression.

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