The Journal of biological chemistry

Distinct phosphotyrosine-dependent functions of the ShcA adaptor protein are required for transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)-induced breast cancer cell migration, invasion, and metastasis.

PMID 23277357


The ErbB2 and TGFβ signaling pathways cooperate to promote the migratory, invasive, and metastatic behavior of breast cancer cells. We previously demonstrated that ShcA is necessary for these synergistic interactions. Through a structure/function approach, we now show that the phosphotyrosine-binding, but not the Src homology 2, domain of ShcA is required for TGFβ-induced migration and invasion of ErbB2-expressing breast cancer cells. We further demonstrate that the tyrosine phosphorylation sites within ShcA (Tyr(239)/Tyr(240) and Tyr(313)) transduce distinct and non-redundant signals that promote these TGFβ-mediated effects. We demonstrate that Grb2 is required specifically downstream of Tyr(313), whereas the Tyr(239)/Tyr(240) phosphorylation sites require the Crk adaptor proteins to augment TGFβ-induced migration and invasion. Furthermore, ShcA Tyr(313) phosphorylation enhances tumor cell survival, and ShcA Tyr(239)/Tyr(240) signaling promotes endothelial cell recruitment into ErbB2-expressing breast tumors in vivo, whereas all three ShcA tyrosine residues are required for efficient breast cancer metastasis to the lungs. Our data uncover a novel ShcA-dependent signaling axis downstream of TGFβ and ErbB2 that requires both the Grb2 and Crk adaptor proteins to increase the migratory and invasive properties of breast cancer cells. In addition, signaling downstream of specific ShcA tyrosine residues facilitates the survival, vascularization, and metastatic spread of breast tumors.