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Integrin-mediated cell adherence to extracellular matrix proteins results in stimulation of ERK1/2 activity, a mechanism involving focal adhesion tyrosine kinases (pp125FAK, Pyk-2) and epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs). G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) may also mediate ERK1/2 activation in an integrin-dependent manner, the underlying signaling mechanism of which still remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that the delta-opioid receptor (DOR), a typical GPCR, stimulates ERK1/2 activity in HEK293 cells via integrin-mediated transactivation of EGFR function. Inhibition of integrin signaling by RGDT peptides, cytochalasin, and by keeping the cells in suspension culture both blocked [D-Ala(2), D-Leu(5)]enkephalin (DADLE)- and etorphine-stimulated ERK1/2 activity. Integrin-dependent ERK1/2 activation does not involve FAK/Pyk-2, because over-expression of the FAK/Pyk-2 inhibitor SOCS-3 failed to attenuate DOR signaling. Exposure of the cells to the EGFR inhibitors AG1478 and BPIQ-I blocked DOR-mediated ERK1/2 activation. Because RGDT peptides also prevented DOR-mediated EGFR activation, the present findings indicate that in HEK293 cells DOR-stimulated ERK1/2 activity is mediated by integrin-stimulated EGFRs. Further studies with the phospholipase C (PLC) inhibitors U73122 and ET-18-OCH(3) revealed that opioid-stimulated integrin activation is sensitive to PLC. In contrast, integrin-mediated transactivation of EGFR function appears to be dependent on PKC-delta, as indicated by studies with rottlerin and siRNA knock-down. A similar ERK1/2 signaling pathway was observed for NG108-15 cells, a neuronal cell line endogenously expressing the DOR. In these cells, the nerve growth factor TrkA receptor replaces the EGFR in connecting DOR-activated integrins to the Ras/Raf/ERK1/2 pathway. Together, these data describe an alternative ERK1/2 signaling pathway in which the DOR transactivates the growth factor receptor associated mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade in an integrin-dependent manner.


Daniela A Eisinger, Hermann Ammer. Delta-opioid receptors activate ERK/MAP kinase via integrin-stimulated receptor tyrosine kinases. Cellular signalling. 2008 Dec;20(12):2324-31

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PMID: 18804531

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