Cripto-1 (CR-1), a recently discovered protein of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family, was found to interact with a high affinity, saturable binding site(s) on HC-11 mouse mammary epithelial cells and on several different human breast cancer cell lines. This receptor exhibits specificity for CR-1, since other EGF-related peptides including EGF, transforming growth factor α, heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor, amphiregulin, epiregulin, betacellulin, or heregulin β1 that bind to either the EGF receptor or to other type 1 receptor tyrosine kinases such as erb B-3 or erb B-4 fail to compete for binding. Conversely, CR-1 was found not to directly bind to or to activate the tyrosine kinases associated with the EGFR, erb B-2, erb B-3, or erb B-4 either alone or in various pairwise combinations which have been ectopically expressed in Ba/F3 mouse pro-B lymphocyte cells. However, exogenous CR-1 could induce an increase in the tyrosine phosphorylation of 185- and 120-kDa proteins and a rapid (within 3-5 min) increase in the tyrosine phosphorylation of the SH2-containing adaptor proteins p66, p52, and p46 Shc in mouse mammary HC-11 epithelial cells and in human MDA-MB-453 and SKBr-3 breast cancer cells. CR-1 was also found to promote an increase in the association of the adaptor Grb2-guanine nucleotide exchange factor-mouse son of sevenless (mSOS) signaling complex with tyrosine-phosphorylated Shc in HC- 11 cells. Finally, CR-1 was able to increase p42(erk-2) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity in HC-11 cells within 5-10 min of treatment. These data demonstrate that CR-1 can function through a receptor which activates intracellular components in the ras/raf/MEK/MAPK pathway.
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