Muc4-ErbB2 complex formation and signaling in polarized CACO-2 epithelial cells indicate that Muc4 acts as an unorthodox ligand for ErbB2

Victoria P. Ramsauer, Vanessa Pino, Amjad Farooq, Coralie A. Carothers Carraway, Pedro J Salas, Kermit L. Carraway

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Muc4 serves as an intramembrane ligand for the receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB2. The time to complex formation and the stoichiometry of the complex were determined to be <15 min and 1:1 by analyses of Muc4 and ErbB2 coexpressed in insect cells and A375 tumor cells. In polarized CACO-2 cells, Muc4 expression causes relocalization of ErbB2, but not its heterodimerization partner ErbB3, to the apical cell surface, effectively segregating the two receptors. The apically located ErbB2 is phosphorylated on tyrosines 1139 and 1248. The phosphorylated ErbB2 in CACO-2 cells recruits the cytoplasmic adaptor protein Grb2, consistent with previous studies showing phosphotyrosine 1139 to be a Grb2 binding site. To address the issue of downstream signaling from apical ErbB2, we analyzed the three MAPK pathways of mammalian cells, Erk, p38, and JNK. Consistent with the more differentiated phenotype of the CACO-2 cells, p38 phosphorylation was robustly increased by Muc4 expression, with a consequent activation of Akt. In contrast, Erk and JNK phosphorylation was not changed. The ability of Muc4 to segregate ErbB2 and other ErbB receptors and to alter downstream signaling cascades in polarized epithelial cells suggests that it has a role in regulating ErbB2 in differentiated epithelia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2931-2941
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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