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Biochem J. 2005 Oct 1;391(Pt 1):143-51.

Participation of both Gab1 and Gab2 in the activation of the ERK/MAPK pathway by epidermal growth factor.

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Molecular Oncology Program, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


Three members of Gab family docking proteins, Gab1, Gab2 and Gab3, have been identified in humans. Previous studies have found that the hepatocyte growth factor preferentially utilizes Gab1 for signalling, whereas Bcr-Abl selectively signals through Gab2. Gab1-SHP2 interaction has been shown to mediate ERK (extracellular-signal-regulated kinase) activation by EGF (epidermal growth factor). However, it was unclear whether EGF selectively utilizes Gab1 for signalling to ERK and whether Gab2 is dispensable in cells where Gab1 and Gab2 are co-expressed. Using T47D and MCF-7 human breast carcinoma cells that express endogenous Gab1 and Gab2, we examined the role of these docking proteins in EGF-induced ERK activation. It was found that EGF induced a similar amount of SHP2-Gab1 and SHP2-Gab2 complexes. Expression of either SHP2-binding defective Gab1 or Gab2 mutant blocked EGF-induced ERK activation. Down-regulation of either Gab1 or Gab2 by siRNAs (small interfering RNAs) effectively inhibited the EGF-stimulated ERK activation pathway and cell migration. Interestingly, the inhibitory effect of Gab1 siRNA could be rescued not only by expression of an exogenous mouse Gab1 but also by an exogenous human Gab2 and vice versa, but not by IRS1 (insulin receptor substrate 1). These results reveal that Gab2 plays a pivotal role in the EGF-induced ERK activation pathway and that it can complement the function of Gab1 in the EGF signalling pathway. Furthermore, Gab1 and Gab2 are critical signalling threshold proteins for ERK activation by EGF.

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