Transactivation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) has been proposed to represent an essential link between G-protein-coupled receptors and the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway in various cell types. In the present work we report, in contrast, that in A431 cells bradykinin transinactivates the EGFR and stimulates MAPK activity independently of EGFR tyrosine phosphorylation. Both effects of bradykinin are mediated by a pertussis-toxin-insensitive G-protein. Three lines of evidence suggest the activation of a protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) by bradykinin: (i) treatment of A431 cells with bradykinin decreases both basal and EGF-induced EGFR tyrosine phosphorylation, (ii) this effect of bradykinin can be blocked by two different PTP inhibitors, and (iii) bradykinin significantly increased the PTP activity in total A431 cell lysates when measured in vitro. The transmembrane receptor PTP sigma was identified as a putative mediator of bradykinin-induced downregulation of EGFR autophosphorylation. Activation of MAPK in response to bradykinin was insensitive towards AG 1478, a specific inhibitor of EGFR tyrosine kinase, but was blocked by wortmannin or bisindolylmaleimide, inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) and protein kinase C (PKC) respectively. These results also suggest that the bradykinin-induced activation of MAPK is independent of EGFR and indicate a pathway involving PI3-K and PKC. In addition, bradykinin evokes a rapid and transient increase in Src kinase activity. Although Src does not participate in bradykinin-induced stimulation of PTP activity, inhibition of Src by 4-amino-5-(4-methylphenyl)-7-(t-butyl)pyrazolo(3,4-d)pyrimidine leads to an increase in MAPK activation by bradykinin. Our results suggest that in A431 cells the G(q/11)-protein-coupled bradykinin B(2) receptor may stimulate PTP activity and thereby transinactivate the EGFR, and may simultaneously activate MAPK by an alternative signalling pathway which can bypass EGFR.