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J Biol Chem. 2003 Feb 28;278(9):7065-72. Epub 2002 Dec 20.

Cholecystokinin stimulates extracellular signal-regulated kinase through activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor, Yes, and protein kinase C. Signal amplification at the level of Raf by activation of protein kinase Cepsilon.

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Department of Internal Medicine II, University of the Saarland, D-66421 Homburg/Saar, Germany.


Cholecystokinin (CCK) and related peptides are potent growth factors in the gastrointestinal tract and may be important for human cancer. CCK exerts its growth modulatory effects through G(q)-coupled receptors (CCK(A) and CCK(B)) and activation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2). In the present study, we investigated the different mechanisms participating in CCK-induced activation of ERK1/2 in pancreatic AR42J cells expressing both CCK(A) and CCK(B). CCK activated ERK1/2 and Raf-1 to a similar extent as epidermal growth factor (EGF). Inhibition of EGF receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase or expression of dominant-negative Ras reduced CCK-induced ERK1/2 activation, indicating participation of the EGFR and Ras in CCK-induced ERK1/2 activation. However, compared with EGF, CCK caused only small increases in tyrosine phosphorylation of the EGFR and Shc, Shc-Grb2 complex formation, and Ras activation. Signal amplification between Ras and Raf in a CCK-induced ERK cascade appears to be mediated by activation of protein kinase Cepsilon (PKCepsilon), because 1) down-modulation of phorbol ester-sensitive PKCs inhibited CCK-induced activation of Ras, Raf, and ERK1/2 without influencing Shc-Grb2 complex formation; 2) PKCepsilon, but not PKCalpha or PKCdelta, was detectable in Raf-1 immunoprecipitates, although CCK activated all three PKC isoenzymes. In addition, the present study provides evidence that the Src family tyrosine kinase Yes is activated by CCK and mediates CCK-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of Shc. Furthermore, we show that CCK-induced activation of the EGFR and Yes is achieved through the CCK(B) receptor. Together, our data show that different signals emanating from the CCK receptors mediate ERK1/2 activation; activation of Yes and the EGFR mediate Shc-Grb2 recruitment, and activation of PKC, most likely PKCepsilon, augments CCK-stimulated ERK1/2 activation at the Ras/Raf level.

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