A distinctive property of Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) is its ability to induce differentiation of tubular structures from epithelial and endothelial cells (branching tubulogenesis). The HGF receptor directly activates PI3 kinase, Ras and STAT signalling pathways and phosphorylates the adaptator GRB2 Associated Binder-1 (Gab1). Gab1 is also phosphorylated in response to Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) but is unable to induce tubule formation. Comparison of 32P-peptide maps of Gab1 from EGF- versus HGF-treated cells, demonstrates that the same sites are phosphorylated in vivo. However, while both EGF and HGF induce rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of Gab1 with a peak at 15 min, the phosphorylation persists for over 1 h, only in response to HGF. Nine tyrosines are phosphorylated by both receptors. Three of them (Y307, Y373, Y407) bind phospholipase C-gamma (PLC-gamma). Interestingly, the overexpression of a Gab1 mutant unable to bind PLC-gamma (Gab1 Y307/373/407F) did not alter HGF-stimulated cell scattering, only partially reduced the growth stimulation but completely abolished HGF-mediated tubulogenesis. It is concluded that sustained recruitment of PLCgamma to Gab1 plays an important role in branching tubulogenesis.