Grb2-associated binder-1 (Gab-1) has been identified recently in a cDNA library of glioblastoma tumors and appears to play a central role in cellular growth response, transformation, and apoptosis. Structural and functional features indicate that Gab-1 is a multisubstrate docking protein downstream in the signaling pathways of different receptor tyrosine kinases, including the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Therefore, the aim of the study was to characterize the phosphorylation of recombinant human Gab-1 (hGab-1) protein by EGFR in vitro. Using the pGEX system to express the entire protein and different domains of hGab-1 as glutathione S-transferase proteins, kinetic data for phosphorylation of these proteins by wheat germ agglutinine-purified EGFR and the recombinant EGFR (rEGFR) receptor kinase domain were determined. Our data revealed similar affinities of hGab-1-C for both receptor preparations (KM = 2.7 microM for rEGFR vs 3.2 microM for WGA EGFR) as well as for the different recombinant hGab-1 domains. To identify the specific EGFR phosphorylation sites, hGab-1-C was sequenced by Edman degradation and mass spectrometry. The entire protein was phosphorylated by rEGFR at eight tyrosine residues (Y285, Y373, Y406, Y447, Y472, Y619, Y657, and Y689). Fifty percent of the identified radioactivity was incorporated in tyrosine Y657 as the predominant peak in HPLC analysis, a site exhibiting features of a potential Syp (PTP1D) binding site. Accordingly, GST-pull down assays with A431 and HepG2 cell lysates showed that phosphorylated intact hGab-1 was able to bind Syp. This binding appears to be specific, because it was abolished by changing the Y657 of hGab-1 to F657. These results demonstrate that hGab-1 is a high-affinity substrate for the EGFR and the major tyrosine phosphorylation site Y657 in the C terminus is a specific binding site for the tyrosine phosphatase Syp.