Signalling proteins such as phospholipase C-gamma (PLC-gamma) or GTPase-activating protein (GAP) of ras contain conserved regions of approximately 100 amino acids termed src homology 2 (SH2) domains. SH2 domains were shown to be responsible for mediating association between signalling proteins and tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins, including growth factor receptors. Nck is an ubiquitously expressed protein consisting exclusively of one SH2 and three SH3 domains. Here we show that epidermal growth factor or platelet-derived growth factor stimulation of intact human or murine cells leads to phosphorylation of Nck protein on tyrosine, serine, and threonine residues. Similar stimulation of Nck phosphorylation was detected upon activation of rat basophilic leukemia RBL-2H3 cells by cross-linking of the high-affinity immunoglobulin E receptors (Fc epsilon RI). Ligand-activated, tyrosine-autophosphorylated platelet-derived growth factor or epidermal growth factor receptors were coimmunoprecipitated with anti-Nck antibodies, and the association with either receptor molecule was mediated by the SH2 domain of Nck. Addition of phorbol ester was also able to stimulate Nck phosphorylation on serine residues. However, growth factor-induced serine/threonine phosphorylation of Nck was not mediated by protein kinase C. Interestingly, approximately fivefold overexpression of Nck in NIH 3T3 cells resulted in formation of oncogenic foci. These results show that Nck is an oncogenic protein and a common target for the action of different surface receptors. Nck probably functions as an adaptor protein which links surface receptors with tyrosine kinase activity to downstream signalling pathways involved in the control of cell proliferation.