Cross-communication between the Met receptor tyrosine kinase and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been proposed to involve direct association of both receptors and EGFR kinase-dependent phosphorylation. Here, we demonstrate that in human hepatocellular and pancreatic carcinoma cells the Met receptor becomes tyrosine phosphorylated not only upon EGF stimulation but also in response to G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) agonists. Whereas specific inhibition of the EGFR kinase activity blocked EGF- but not GPCR agonist-induced Met receptor transactivation, it was abrogated in the presence of a reducing agent or treatment of cells with a NADPH oxidase inhibitor. Both GPCR ligands and EGF are further shown to increase the level of reactive oxygen species within the cell. Interestingly, stimulation of the Met receptor by either GPCR agonists, EGF or its cognate ligand HGF, resulted in release of Met-associated β-catenin and in its Met-dependent translocation into the nucleus, as analyzed by small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of the Met receptor. Our results provide a new molecular explanation for cell surface receptor cross-talk involving the Met receptor and thereby link the wide diversity of GPCRs and the EGFR to the oncogenic potential of Met signaling in human carcinoma cells.
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