Molecular biology of the cell

Macropinocytosis of the PDGF β-receptor promotes fibroblast transformation by H-RasG12V.

PMID 22573884


Receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling is frequently increased in tumor cells, sometimes as a result of decreased receptor down-regulation. The extent to which the endocytic trafficking routes can contribute to such RTK hyperactivation is unclear. Here, we show for the first time that fibroblast transformation by H-RasG12V induces the internalization of platelet-derived growth factor β-receptor (PDGFRβ) by macropinocytosis, enhancing its signaling activity and increasing anchorage-independent proliferation. H-RasG12V transformation and PDGFRβ activation were synergistic in stimulating phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase activity, leading to receptor macropinocytosis. PDGFRβ macropinocytosis was both necessary and sufficient for enhanced receptor activation. Blocking macropinocytosis by inhibition of PI 3-kinase prevented the increase in receptor activity in transformed cells. Conversely, increasing macropinocytosis by Rabankyrin-5 overexpression was sufficient to enhance PDGFRβ activation in nontransformed cells. Simultaneous stimulation with PDGF-BB and epidermal growth factor promoted macropinocytosis of both receptors and increased their activation in nontransformed cells. We propose that H-Ras transformation promotes tumor progression by enhancing growth factor receptor signaling as a result of increased receptor macropinocytosis.