Multiple G-protein-coupled receptor signals converge on the epidermal growth factor receptor to promote migration and invasion

Oncogene. 2004 Jan 29;23(4):991-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207278.


Signalling through G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) is involved in the regulation of essential cellular processes and its deregulation is associated with tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo. We investigated pathophysiological processes that are regulated by GPCR pathways in human kidney and bladder cancer cell lines. Our results show that GPCR ligands induce tyrosine phosphorylation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as well as downstream signalling events such as recruitment of the adapter protein Shc and activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) ERK1/2, JNK and p38. Moreover, we report that the EGFR transactivation signal involves the EGFR ligands amphiregulin, HB-EGF and TGFalpha as well as the metalloproteinases ADAM 10, 15 and 17, depending on the cellular system. Finally, we demonstrate that EGFR transactivation is part of a regulatory system that modulates the migratory and invasive behaviour of kidney and bladder cancer cells. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that metalloproteinase-mediated transactivation of the EGFR is a key mechanism of the cellular signalling network that promotes MAPK activation as well as tumour cell migration and invasion in response to a variety of physiologically relevant GPCR ligands, and therefore represents a novel target for cancer intervention strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Metalloproteases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness*
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Metalloproteases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins