Epidermal growth factor (EGF) binding to its receptor, ErbB1, triggers various signal transduction pathways, one of which leads to the activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat) factors. The mechanism underlying ErbB1-induced Stat activation and whether Stats are downstream targets of other ErbB receptors have not been explored. In this report we show that ErbB2, ErbB3, and ErbB4 do not potentiate Stat5 phosphorylation by EGF. However, neu differentiation factor-induced heterodimers of ErbB2 and ErbB4 activated Stat5. In A431 cells, Stat1, Stat3, and Stat5, were constitutively complexed with ErbB1 and rapidly phosphorylated on tyrosine in response to EGF. Neither mutation of the conserved tyrosine residue (Tyr694) nor inactivation of the Stat5a SH2 domain disrupted this association. However, an intact SH2 domain was necessary for EGF-induced Stat5a phosphorylation. In contrast to prolactin, which induced only Tyr694 phosphorylation of Stat5a, EGF promoted phosphorylation on Tyr694 and additional tyrosine residue(s). Janus kinases (Jaks) were also constitutively associated with ErbB receptors and were phosphorylated in response to EGF-related ligands. However, we provide evidence that EGF- and neu differentiation factor-induced Stat activation are dependent on Src but not Jak kinases. Upon EGF stimulation, c-Src was rapidly recruited to Stat/ErbB receptor complexes. Pharmacological Src kinase inhibitors and a dominant negative c-Src ablated both Stat and Jak tyrosine phosphorylation. However, dominant negative Jaks did not affect EGF-induced Stat phosphorylation. Taken together, the experiments establish two independent roles for Src kinases: (i) key molecules in ErbB receptor-mediated Stat signaling and (ii) potential upstream regulators of Jak kinases.
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