Epidermal growth factor receptor is a common element in the signaling pathways activated by cell volume changes in isosmotic, hyposmotic or hyperosmotic conditions

Neurochem Res. 2005 Dec;30(12):1589-97. doi: 10.1007/s11064-005-8837-5.


Changes in external osmolarity, including both hyper- or hyposmotic conditions, elicit the tyrosine phosphorylation of a number of tyrosine kinase receptors (TKR). We show here that the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is activated by both cell swelling (hyposmolarity, isosmotic urea, hyperosmotic sorbitol) or shrinkage (hyperosmotic NaCl or raffinose) and discuss the mechanisms by which these apparently opposed conditions come to the same effect, i.e., EGFR activation. Evidence suggests that this results from early activation of integrins, p38 and tyrosine kinases of the Src family, which are all activated in the two anisosmotic conditions. TKR transactivation by integrins and p38 is likely occurring via an effect on the metalloproteinases. Information discussed in this review, points to TKR as elements in osmotransduction as a useful mechanism to amplify and diversify the initial response to anisosmolarity and cell volume changes, due to their privileged situation as convergence point for numerous intracellular signaling pathways. The variety of effector pathways connected to TKR is advantageous for the cell to cope with the changes in cell volume including adaptation to stress, cytoskeleton remodeling, adhesion reactions, cell survival and the adaptive mechanisms to ultimately restore the original cell volume.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Size*
  • ErbB Receptors / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Phosphorylation
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • ErbB Receptors