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Cancer Biol Ther. 2004 Dec;3(12):1243-9. Epub 2004 Dec 14.

EGF activates intracellular and intercellular calcium signaling by distinct pathways in tumor cells.

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Department of Neurology David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California90095, USA.


Epidermal growth factor (EGF)-mediated Ca2+ signaling in multiple cell lines derived from human gliomas and in the A431 epidermoid carcinoma cell line was observed using fluorescence videomicroscopy. Bath application of EGF evoked an oscillatory increase in [Ca2+]i in 4 different human glioma cell lines as well as the A431 cell line. This effect was blocked by the EGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib and erlotinib, as well as by the EGFR antibody cetuximab. In addition to this acute Ca2+ signaling response, transient exposure to EGF also potentiated subsequent Ca2+ signaling responses to other stimuli. Tumor cells transiently exposed to EGF (5 minutes), showed a sustained increase in propagation of intercellular Ca2+ waves, which have been previously shown to involve release of ATP and activation of purinergic receptors. Cells transiently exposed to EGF also showed a sustained potentiation of the Ca2+ signaling response to ATP. In contrast to the acute Ca2+ signaling response to EGF, this sustained potentiation of purinergic intercellular signaling was not blocked by gefitinib or erlotinib, while it was blocked by cetuximab. These results indicate that while the acute Ca2+ signaling response requires tyrosine kinase activation, the sustained potentiation of intercellular signaling occurs via a distinct pathway. Distinct intra- and intercellular Ca2+ signaling pathways may be mechanisms by which EGF modulates the growth and migration of tumor cells.

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