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Grb2 mediates semaphorin-4D-dependent RhoA inactivation
Tianliang Sun, Rameshkumar Krishnan, Jakub M. Swiercz


Signaling through the semaphorin 4D (Sema4D) receptor plexin-B1 is modulated by its interaction with tyrosine kinases ErbB-2 and Met. In cells expressing the plexin-B1–ErbB-2 receptor complex, ligand stimulation results in the activation of small GTPase RhoA and stimulation of cellular migration. By contrast, in cells expressing plexin-B1 and Met, ligand stimulation results in an association with the RhoGTPase-activating protein p190 RhoGAP and subsequent RhoA inactivation – a process that involves the tyrosine phosphorylation of plexin-B1 by Met. Inactivation of RhoA is necessary for Sema4D-mediated inhibition of cellular migration. It is, however, unknown how plexin-B1 phosphorylation regulates RhoGAP interaction and activity. Here we show that the activation of plexin-B1 by Sema4D and its subsequent tyrosine phosphorylation by Met creates a docking site for the SH2 domain of growth factor receptor bound-2 (Grb2). Grb2 is thereby recruited into the plexin-B1 receptor complex and, through its SH3 domain, interacts with p190 RhoGAP and mediates RhoA deactivation. Phosphorylation of plexin-B1 by Met and the recruitment of Grb2 have no effect on the R-RasGAP activity of plexin-B1, but are required for Sema4D-induced, RhoA-dependent antimigratory effects of Sema4D on breast cancer cells. These data show Grb2 as a direct link between plexin and p190-RhoGAP-mediated downstream signaling.


  • Funding

    J.M.S. and T.S. are supported by the German Research Foundation [grant number SW 148/1-1]. R.K. received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Accepted March 21, 2012.
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