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J Clin Neurosci. 2002 May;9(3):282-8.

EGF receptor modifies cellular responses to hyaluronan in glioblastoma cell lines.

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Department of Surgery, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, 3052, Australia.


Cell contact with the extracellular matrix component, hyaluronan, plays a pivotal role in glioma cell invasion and proliferation. Although it is well established that glioma cells can bind hyaluronan to their surface via the expression of CD44, the cellular responses following ligand-receptor interaction remain poorly understood. Given that a large proportion of human high grade gliomas over express the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ErbB2, this study aimed to investigate whether an interaction exists between CD44 and these receptor tyrosine kinases. Here we present evidence that CD44 co-immunoprecipitates with EGFR and ErbB2 in the glioma cell lines U87MG and SMA560. Hyaluronan treatment mediated the rapid and transient phosphorylation of extracellular signal regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1 and ERK2) in glioma cell lines. This response to hyaluronan was augmented by the co-expression of EGFR. EGFR also differentially modified the hyaluronan induced expression of a number of genes associated with cellular invasion and proliferation. Northern blot analysis demonstrated that genes encoding urokinase type plasminogen activator (uPA), urokinase type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP-1) and c- myc were up-regulated in response to hyaluronan. Furthermore, zymographic analysis revealed increased levels of uPA in the conditioned medium of hyaluronan stimulated cells. These results indicate a novel functional relationship between CD44 and EGFR in glioma cell lines. The capacity of CD44 to form stable complexes with receptor tyrosine kinases may provide a versatile system for the regulation of cellular invasion and proliferation that allows hyaluronan to activate signal transduction pathways and modulate gene expression via an EGFR-dependent manner. These findings provide new insights into the mode by which hyaluronan regulates the malignant phenotype and also suggest a role for EGFR-CD44 interactions in glial tumorigenesis.

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