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1.  Grb2-associated binding (Gab) proteins in hematopoietic and immune cell biology 
Grb2-associated binding (Gab) scaffolding/adapter proteins are a family of three members including mammalian Gab1, Gab2, and Gab3 that are highly conserved. Since the discovery of these proteins, there has been an extensive amount of work done to better understand Gab functional roles in multiple signaling pathways, typically acting as a downstream effectors of receptor-tyrosine kinase (RTK)-triggered signal transduction. In addition to their participation in hematopoiesis, Gabs play important roles in regulation of immune response and in also in cancer cell signaling. Gabs may play complex roles and thus a complete understanding of their interactions and how they modulate hematopoietic and immune cell biology remains to be determined. This review will cover the most recent findings including the involvement of Gabs in disease development and signaling which will be important for design of future therapeutic interventions.
PMCID: PMC3232456  PMID: 22163099
Adapter protein; cytokine signaling; Grb2-associated binding protein; Gab; receptor tyrosine kinase; cancer signaling
2.  Critical role for scaffolding adapter Gab2 in FcγR-mediated phagocytosis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2003;161(6):1151-1161.
Grb2-associated binder 2 (Gab2), a member of the Dos/Gab subfamily scaffolding molecules, plays important roles in regulating the growth, differentiation, and function of many hematopoietic cell types. In this paper, we reveal a novel function of Gab2 in Fcγ receptor (FcγR)–initiated phagocytosis in macrophages. Upon FcγR activation, Gab2 becomes tyrosyl phosphorylated and associated with p85, the regulatory subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), and the protein–tyrosine phosphatidylinositol Shp-2. FcγR-mediated phagocytosis is severely impaired in bone marrow–derived macrophages from Gab2−/− mice. The defect in phagocytosis correlates with decreased FcγR-evoked activation of Akt, a downstream target of PI3K. Using confocal fluorescence microscopy, we find that Gab2 is recruited to the nascent phagosome, where de novo PI3K lipid production occurs. Gab2 recruitment requires the pleckstrin homology domain of Gab2 and is sensitive to treatment with the PI3K inhibitor wortmannin. The Grb2 binding site on Gab2 also plays an auxiliary role in recruitment to the phagosome. Because PI3K activity is required for FcγR-mediated phagocytosis, our results indicate that Gab2 acts as a key component of FcγR-mediated phagocytosis, most likely by amplifying PI3K signaling in the nascent phagosome.
PMCID: PMC2172986  PMID: 12821647
macrophages; PI3K; phagocytosis; FcγR; PH domain
3.  Distinct Recruitment and Function of Gab1 and Gab2 in Met Receptor-mediated Epithelial Morphogenesis 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2002;13(6):2132-2146.
The Gab family of docking proteins (Gab1 and Gab2) are phosphorylated in response to various cytokines and growth factors. Gab1 acts to diversify the signal downstream from the Met receptor tyrosine kinase through the recruitment of multiple signaling proteins, and is essential for epithelial morphogenesis. To determine whether Gab1 and Gab2 are functionally redundant, we have examined the role of Gab2 in epithelial cells. Both Gab1 and Gab2 are expressed in epithelial cells and localize to cell-cell junctions. However, whereas overexpression of Gab1 promotes a morphogenic response, the overexpression of Gab2 fails to induce this response. We show that Gab2 recruitment to the Met receptor is dependent on the Grb2 adapter protein. In contrast, Gab1 recruitment to Met is both Grb2 dependent and Grb2 independent. The latter requires a novel amino acid sequence present in the Met-binding domain of Gab1 but not Gab2. Mutation of these residues in Gab1 impairs both association with the Met receptor and the ability of Gab1 to promote a morphogenic response, whereas their insertion into Gab2 increases Gab2 association with Met, but does not confer on Gab2 the ability to promote epithelial morphogenesis. We propose that the Grb2-independent recruitment of Gab proteins to Met is necessary but not sufficient to promote epithelial morphogenesis.
PMCID: PMC117630  PMID: 12058075
4.  Gab2 Promotes Hematopoietic Stem Cell Maintenance and Self-Renewal Synergistically with STAT5 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9152.
Grb2-associated binding (Gab) adapter proteins play major roles in coordinating signaling downstream of hematopoietic cytokine receptors. In hematopoietic cells, Gab2 can modulate phosphatidylinositol–3 kinase and mitogen associated protein kinase activities and regulate the long-term multilineage competitive repopulating activity of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Gab2 may also act in a linear pathway upstream or downstream of signal transducer and activator of transcription-5 (STAT5), a major positive regulator of HSC function. Therefore, we aimed to determine whether Gab2 and STAT5 function in hematopoiesis in a redundant or non-redundant manner.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To do this we generated Gab2 mutant mice with heterozygous and homozygous deletions of STAT5. In heterozygous STAT5 mutant mice, deficiencies in HSC/multipotent progenitors were reflected by decreased long-term repopulating activity. This reduction in repopulation function was mirrored in the reduced growth response to early-acting cytokines from sorted double mutant c-Kit+Lin−Sca-1+ (KLS) cells. Importantly, in non-ablated newborn mice, the host steady-state engraftment ability was impaired by loss of Gab2 in heterozygous STAT5 mutant background. Fetal liver cells isolated from homozygous STAT5 mutant mice lacking Gab2 showed significant reduction in HSC number (KLS CD150+CD48−), reduced HSC survival, and dramatic loss of self-renewal potential as measured by serial transplantation.
These data demonstrate new functions for Gab2 in hematopoiesis in a manner that is non-redundant with STAT5. Furthermore, important synergy between STAT5 and Gab2 was observed in HSC self-renewal, which might be exploited to optimize stem cell-based therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC2818849  PMID: 20161778
5.  Gab3, a New DOS/Gab Family Member, Facilitates Macrophage Differentiation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(1):231-244.
Using the FDC-P1 cell line expressing the exogenous macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) receptor, Fms, we have analyzed the role of a new mammalian DOS/Gab-related signaling protein, called Gab3, in macrophage cell development of the mouse. Gab3 contains an amino-terminal pleckstrin homology domain, multiple potential sites for tyrosine phosphorylation and SH2 domain binding, and two major polyproline motifs potentially interacting with SH3 domains. Among the growing family of Gab proteins, Gab3 exhibits a unique and overlapping pattern of expression in tissues of the mouse compared with Gab1 and Gab2. Gab3 is more restricted to the hematopoietic tissues such as spleen and thymus but is detectable at progressively lower levels within heart, kidney, uterus, and brain. Like Gab2, Gab3 is tyrosine phosphorylated after M-CSF receptor stimulation and associates transiently with the SH2 domain-containing proteins p85 and SHP2. Overexpression of exogenous Gab3 in FD-Fms cells dramatically accelerates macrophage differentiation upon M-CSF stimulation. Unlike Gab2, which shows a constant mRNA expression level after M-CSF stimulation, Gab3 expression is initially absent or low in abundance in FD cells expressing the wild-type Fms, but Gab3 mRNA levels are increased upon M-CSF stimulation. Moreover, M-CSF stimulation of FD-FmsY807F cells (which grow but do not differentiate) fails to increase Gab3 expression. These results suggest that Gab3 is important for macrophage differentiation and that differentiation requires the early phosphorylation of Gab2 followed by induction and subsequent phosphorylation of Gab3.
PMCID: PMC134230  PMID: 11739737
6.  Endothelial Gab1 is crucial for postnatal angiogenesis 
Grb2-associated binder 1 (Gab1), a scaffolding adaptor protein, plays an important role in transmitting key signals that control cell growth, differentiation and function from multiple tyrosine kinase receptors. The study was designed to investigate the role of endothelial Gab1 in angiogenesis and underlying molecular mechanisms.
Methods and Results
Using cre-loxp technology, we generated endothelial-specific Gab1 knockout (Gab1-ecKO) mice. Gab1-ecKO mice are viable and showed no obvious developmental defects in the vascular system. To analyze the role of Gab1 in postnatal angiogenesis, we used hindlimb ischemia and Matrigel plug models. We found that loss of endothelial Gab1 in mice dramatically impaired postnatal angiogenesis. Gab1-ecKO mice had impaired ischemia-initiated blood flow recovery, exhibited reduced angiogenesis and were associated with marked limb necrosis. We further observed significant EC death in the ischemic hindlimb of Gab1-ecKO mice. Matrigel plug assay showed that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)-mediated angiogenesis was inhibited in Gab1-ecKO mice. In vitro studies showed that Gab1 was required for HGF-induced EC migration, tube formation and microvessel sprouting. Mechanistically, HGF stimulated Gab1 tyrosine phosphorylation in ECs, leading to activation of ERK1/2 and Akt, which are angiogenic and survival signaling.
Gab1 is essential for postnatal angiogenesis through mediating angiogenic and survival signaling.
PMCID: PMC3094153  PMID: 21372298
Gab1; angiogenesis; hindlimb ischemia; hepatocyte growth factor; endothelial cells
7.  Gab2 Phosphorylation by RSK Inhibits Shp2 Recruitment and Cell Motility 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(8):1657-1670.
The scaffolding adapter protein Gab2 (Grb2-associated binder) participates in the signaling response evoked by various growth factors and cytokines. Gab2 is overexpressed in several human malignancies, including breast cancer, and was shown to promote mammary epithelial cell migration. The role of Gab2 in the activation of different signaling pathways is well documented, but less is known regarding the feedback mechanisms responsible for its inactivation. We now demonstrate that activation of the Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway promotes Gab2 phosphorylation on basic consensus motifs. More specifically, we show that RSK (p90 ribosomal S6 kinase) phosphorylates Gab2 on three conserved residues, both in vivo and in vitro. Mutation of these phosphorylation sites does not alter Gab2 binding to Grb2, but instead, we show that Gab2 phosphorylation inhibits the recruitment of the tyrosine phosphatase Shp2 in response to growth factors. Expression of an unphosphorylatable Gab2 mutant in mammary epithelial cells promotes an invasion-like phenotype and increases cell motility. Taken together, these results suggest that RSK is part of a negative-feedback loop that restricts Gab2-dependent epithelial cell motility. On the basis of the widespread role of Gab2 in receptor signaling, these findings also suggest that RSK plays a regulatory function in diverse receptor systems.
PMCID: PMC3624252  PMID: 23401857
8.  Met receptor tyrosine kinase signals through a cortactin–Gab1 scaffold complex, to mediate invadopodia 
Journal of Cell Science  2012;125(12):2940-2953.
Invasive carcinoma cells form actin-rich matrix-degrading protrusions called invadopodia. These structures resemble podosomes produced by some normal cells and play a crucial role in extracellular matrix remodeling. In cancer, formation of invadopodia is strongly associated with invasive potential. Although deregulated signals from the receptor tyrosine kinase Met (also known as hepatocyte growth factor are linked to cancer metastasis and poor prognosis, its role in invadopodia formation is not known. Here we show that stimulation of breast cancer cells with the ligand for Met, hepatocyte growth factor, promotes invadopodia formation, and in aggressive gastric tumor cells where Met is amplified, invadopodia formation is dependent on Met activity. Using both GRB2-associated-binding protein 1 (Gab1)-null fibroblasts and specific knockdown of Gab1 in tumor cells we show that Met-mediated invadopodia formation and cell invasion requires the scaffold protein Gab1. By a structure–function approach, we demonstrate that two proline-rich motifs (P4/5) within Gab1 are essential for invadopodia formation. We identify the actin regulatory protein, cortactin, as a direct interaction partner for Gab1 and show that a Gab1–cortactin interaction is dependent on the SH3 domain of cortactin and the integrity of the P4/5 region of Gab1. Both cortactin and Gab1 localize to invadopodia rosettes in Met-transformed cells and the specific uncoupling of cortactin from Gab1 abrogates invadopodia biogenesis and cell invasion downstream from the Met receptor tyrosine kinase. Met localizes to invadopodia along with cortactin and promotes phosphorylation of cortactin. These findings provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of invadopodia formation and identify Gab1 as a scaffold protein involved in this process.
PMCID: PMC3434810  PMID: 22366451
Invadopodia; Met RTK; Gab1; Cortactin; Matrix remodeling; Cell invasion
The Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Despite the high expression of EGFR in HNSCC, EGFR inhibitors have only limited success as monotherapy. The Grb2-associated binder (GAB) family of adaptor proteins acts as docking/scaffolding molecules downstream of tyrosine kinase receptors. We hypothesized that GAB1 may amplify EGFR-induced signaling in HNSCCs and therefore could play a role in the reduced sensitivity of HNSCC to EGFR inhibitors. We used representative human HNSCC cell lines overexpressing wild type EGFR, and expressing GAB1 but not GAB2. We demonstrated that baseline Akt and MAPK signaling were reduced in HNSCC cells in which GAB1 expression was reduced. Furthermore, the maximal EGF-induced activation of the Akt and MAPK pathway was reduced and delayed, and the duration of the EGF-induced activation of these pathways was reduced in cells with GAB1 knock-down. In agreement with this, HNSCC cells in which GAB1 levels were reduced showed an increased sensitivity to the EGFR inhibitor gefitinib. Our work demonstrates that GAB1 plays an important role as part of the mechanism of by which EGFR induces induced activation of the MAPK and AKT pathway. Our results identify GAB1 as an amplifier of the EGFR-initiated signaling, which may also interfere with EGFR degradation. These findings support the emerging notion that reducing GAB1 function may sensitize HNSCC to EGFR inhibitors, hence representing a new therapeutic target HNSCC treatment in combination with EGFR targeting agents.
PMCID: PMC3498529  PMID: 22865653
10.  A Novel Positive Feedback Loop Mediated by the Docking Protein Gab1 and Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase in Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Signaling 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(4):1448-1459.
The Gab1 protein is tyrosine phosphorylated in response to various growth factors and serves as a docking protein that recruits a number of downstream signaling proteins, including phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI-3 kinase). To determine the role of Gab1 in signaling via the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) we tested the ability of Gab1 to associate with and modulate signaling by this receptor. We show that Gab1 associates with the EGFR in vivo and in vitro via pTyr sites 1068 and 1086 in the carboxy-terminal tail of the receptor and that overexpression of Gab1 potentiates EGF-induced activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase and Jun kinase signaling pathways. A mutant of Gab1 unable to bind the p85 subunit of PI-3 kinase is defective in potentiating EGFR signaling, confirming a role for PI-3 kinase as a downstream effector of Gab1. Inhibition of PI-3 kinase by a dominant-interfering mutant of p85 or by Wortmannin treatment similarly impairs Gab1-induced enhancement of signaling via the EGFR. The PH domain of Gab1 was shown to bind specifically to phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate [PtdIns(3,4,5)P3], a product of PI-3 kinase, and is required for activation of Gab1-mediated enhancement of EGFR signaling. Moreover, the PH domain mediates Gab1 translocation to the plasma membrane in response to EGF and is required for efficient tyrosine phosphorylation of Gab1 upon EGF stimulation. In addition, overexpression of Gab1 PH domain blocks Gab1 potentiation of EGFR signaling. Finally, expression of the gene for the lipid phosphatase PTEN, which dephosphorylates PtdIns(3,4,5)P3, inhibits EGF signaling and translocation of Gab1 to the plasma membrane. These results reveal a novel positive feedback loop, modulated by PTEN, in which PI-3 kinase functions as both an upstream regulator and a downstream effector of Gab1 in signaling via the EGFR.
PMCID: PMC85307  PMID: 10648629
11.  Computational Model of Gab1/2-Dependent VEGFR2 Pathway to Akt Activation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67438.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signal transduction is central to angiogenesis in development and in pathological conditions such as cancer, retinopathy and ischemic diseases. However, no detailed mass-action models of VEGF receptor signaling have been developed. We constructed and validated the first computational model of VEGFR2 trafficking and signaling, to study the opposing roles of Gab1 and Gab2 in regulation of Akt phosphorylation in VEGF-stimulated endothelial cells. Trafficking parameters were optimized against 5 previously published in vitro experiments, and the model was validated against six independent published datasets. The model showed agreement at several key nodes, involving scaffolding proteins Gab1, Gab2 and their complexes with Shp2. VEGFR2 recruitment of Gab1 is greater in magnitude, slower, and more sustained than that of Gab2. As Gab2 binds VEGFR2 complexes more transiently than Gab1, VEGFR2 complexes can recycle and continue to participate in other signaling pathways. Correspondingly, the simulation results show a log-linear relationship between a decrease in Akt phosphorylation and Gab1 knockdown while a linear relationship was observed between an increase in Akt phosphorylation and Gab2 knockdown. Global sensitivity analysis demonstrated the importance of initial-concentration ratios of antagonistic molecular species (Gab1/Gab2 and PI3K/Shp2) in determining Akt phosphorylation profiles. It also showed that kinetic parameters responsible for transient Gab2 binding affect the system at specific nodes. This model can be expanded to study multiple signaling contexts and receptor crosstalk and can form a basis for investigation of therapeutic approaches, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), overexpression of key signaling proteins or knockdown experiments.
PMCID: PMC3689841  PMID: 23805312
12.  Gab Docking Proteins in Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and Inflammation 
The docking proteins of the Grb2-associated binder (Gab) family have emerged as crucial signaling compartments in metazoans. In mammals, the Gab proteins, consisting of Gab1, Gab2, and Gab3, are involved in the amplification and integration of signal transduction evoked by a variety of extracellular stimuli, including growth factors, cytokines, antigens, and other molecules. Gab proteins lack the enzymatic activity themselves; however, when phosphorylated on tyrosine residues, they provide binding sites for multiple Src homology-2 (SH2) domain-containing proteins, such as SH2-containing protein tyrosine phosphatase 2 (SHP2), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase regulatory subunit p85, phospholipase Cγ, Crk, and GC-GAP. Through these interactions, the Gab proteins transduce signals from activated receptors into pathways with distinct biological functions, thereby contributing to signal diversification. They are known to play crucial roles in numerous physiological processes through their associations with SHP2 and p85. In addition, abnormal Gab protein signaling has been linked to human diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory disorders. In this paper, we provide an overview of the structure, effector functions, and regulation of the Gab docking proteins, with a special focus on their associations with cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammation.
PMCID: PMC3566608  PMID: 23431498
13.  Gab3-Deficient Mice Exhibit Normal Development and Hematopoiesis and Are Immunocompetent 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2003;23(7):2415-2424.
Gab proteins are intracellular scaffolding and docking molecules involved in signaling pathways mediated by various growth factor, cytokine, or antigen receptors. Gab3 has been shown to act downstream of the macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor, c-Fms, and to be important for macrophage differentiation. To analyze the physiological role of Gab3, we used homologous recombination to generate mice deficient in Gab3. Gab3−/− mice develop normally, are visually indistinguishable from their wild-type littermates, and are healthy and fertile. To obtain a detailed expression pattern of Gab3, we generated Gab3-specific monoclonal antibodies. Immunoblotting revealed a predominant expression of Gab3 in lymphocytes and bone marrow-derived macrophages. However, detailed analysis demonstrated that hematopoiesis in mice lacking Gab3 is not impaired and that macrophages develop in normal numbers and exhibit normal function. The lack of Gab3 expression during macrophage differentiation is not compensated for by increased levels of Gab1 or Gab2 mRNA. Furthermore, Gab3-deficient mice have no major immune deficiency in T- and B-lymphocyte responses to protein antigens or during viral infection. In addition, allergic responses in Gab3-deficient mice appeared to be normal. Together, these data demonstrate that loss of Gab3 does not result in detectable defects in normal mouse development, hematopoiesis, or immune system function.
PMCID: PMC150735  PMID: 12640125
14.  Membrane Targeting of Grb2-associated Binder-1 (Gab1) Scaffolding Protein through Src Myristoylation Sequence Substitutes for Gab1 Pleckstrin Homology Domain and Switches an Epidermal Growth Factor Response to an Invasive Morphogenic Program 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(4):1691-1708.
The hepatocyte growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase Met promotes cell dissociation and the inherent morphogenic program of epithelial cells. In a search for substrates downstream from Met, we have previously identified the Grb2-associated binder-1 (Gab1) as critical for the morphogenic program. Gab1 is a scaffold protein that acts to diversify the signal downstream from the Met receptor through its ability to couple with multiple signal transduction pathways. Gab1 contains a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain with specificity for phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate. The phospholipid binding capacity of the Gab1 PH domain is required for the localization of Gab1 at sites of cell-cell contact in colonies of epithelial cells and for epithelial morphogenesis, suggesting that PH domain-dependent subcellular localization of Gab1 is a prerequisite for function. We have investigated the requirement for membrane localization of Gab1 for biological activity. We show that substitution of the Gab1 PH domain with the myristoylation signal from the c-Src protein is sufficient to replace the Gab1 PH domain for epithelial morphogenesis. The membrane targeting of Gab1 enhances Rac activity in the absence of stimulation and switches a nonmorphogenic noninvasive response to epidermal growth factor to a morphogenic invasive program. These results suggest that the subcellular localization of Gab1 is a critical determinant for epithelial morphogenesis and invasiveness.
PMCID: PMC153132  PMID: 12686619
15.  Alterations of Gab2 signalling complexes in imatinib and dasatinib treated chronic myeloid leukaemia cells 
The Gab2 docking protein acts as an important signal amplifier downstream of various growth factor receptors and Bcr-Abl, the driver of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML). Despite the success of Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) in the therapy of CML, TKI-resistance remains an unsolved problem in the clinic. We have recently shown that Gab2 signalling counteracts the efficacy of four distinct Bcr-Abl inhibitors. In the course of that project, we noticed that two clinically relevant drugs, imatinib and dasatinib, provoke distinct alterations in the electrophoretic mobility of Gab2, its signalling output and protein interactions. As the signalling potential of the docking protein is highly modulated by its phosphorylation status, we set out to obtain more insights into the impact of TKIs on Gab2 phosphorylation.
Using stable isotope labelling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC)-based quantitative mass spectrometry (MS), we show now that imatinib and dasatinib provoke distinct effects on the phosphorylation status and interactome of Gab2. This study identifies several new phosphorylation sites on Gab2 and confirms many sites previously known from other experimental systems. At equimolar concentrations, dasatinib is more effective in preventing Gab2 tyrosine and serine/threonine phosphorylation than imatinib. It also affects the phosphorylation status of more residues than imatinib. In addition, we also identify novel components of the Gab2 signalling complex, such as casein kinases, stathmins and PIP1 as well as known interaction partners whose association with Gab2 is disrupted by imatinib and/or dasatinib.
By using MS-based proteomics, we have identified new and confirmed known phosphorylation sites and interaction partners of Gab2, which may play an important role in the regulation of this docking protein. Given the growing importance of Gab2 in several tumour entities we expect that our results will help to understand the complex regulation of Gab2 and how this docking protein can contribute to malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3640961  PMID: 23607741
Chronic myeloid leukaemia; Bcr-Abl; Gab2; Tyrosine kinase inhibitor; Imatinib; Dasatinib; SILAC-based mass spectrometry; Proteomics; Casein kinase; Protein phosphorylation
16.  Flow Shear Stress Stimulates Gab1 Tyrosine Phosphorylation to Mediate Protein Kinase B and Endothelial Nitric-oxide Synthase Activation in Endothelial Cells* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2005;280(13):12305-12309.
Fluid shear stress generated by blood flow modulates endothelial cell function via specific intracellular signaling events. We showed previously that flow activated the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), Akt, and endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) via Src kinase-dependent transactivation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2). The scaffold protein Gab1 plays an important role in receptor tyrosine kinase-mediated signal transduction. We found here that laminar flow (shear stress = 12 dynes/cm2) rapidly stimulated Gab1 tyrosine phosphorylation in both bovine aortic endothelial cells and human umbilical vein endothelial cells, which correlated with activation of Akt and eNOS. Gab1 phosphorylation as well as activation of Akt and eNOS by flow was inhibited by the Src kinase inhibitor PP2 (4-amino-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-7-(t-butyl)pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine) and VEGFR2 kinase inhibitors SU1498 and VTI, suggesting that flow-mediated Gab1 phosphorylation is Src kinase-dependent and VEGFR2-dependent. Tyrosine phosphorylation of Gab1 by flow was functionally important, because flow stimulated the association of Gab1 with the PI3K subunit p85 in a time-dependent manner. Furthermore, transfection of a Gab1 mutant lacking p85 binding sites inhibited flow-induced activation of Akt and eNOS. Finally, knockdown of endogenous Gab1 by small interference RNA abrogated flow activation of Akt and eNOS. These data demonstrate a critical role of Gab1 in flow-stimulated PI3K/Akt/eNOS signal pathway in endothelial cells.
PMCID: PMC4228934  PMID: 15665327
17.  G-CSF Stimulates Jak2-Dependent Gab2 Phosphorylation Leading to Erk1/2 Activation and Cell Proliferation 
Cellular signalling  2008;20(10):1890-1899.
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), the major cytokine regulator of neutrophilic granulopoiesis, stimulates both the proliferation and differentiation of myeloid precursors. A variety of signaling proteins have been identified as mediators of G-CSF signaling, but understanding of their specific interactions and organization into signaling pathways for particular cellular effects is incomplete. The present study examined the role of the scaffolding protein Grb2-associated binding protein-2 (Gab2) in G-CSF signaling. We found that a chemical inhibitor of Janus kinases inhibited G-CSF-stimulated Gab2 phosphorylation. Transfection with Jak2 antisense and dominant negative constructs also inhibited Gab2 phosphorylation in response to G-CSF. In addition, G-CSF enhanced the association of Jak2 with Gab2. In vitro, activated Jak2 directly phosphorylated specific Gab2 tyrosine residues. Mutagenesis studies revealed that Gab2 tyrosine 643 (Y643) was a major target of Jak2 in vitro, and a key residue for Jak2-dependent phosphorylation in intact cells. Mutation of Gab2 Y643 inhibited G-CSF-stimulated Erk1/2 activation and Shp2 binding to Gab2. Loss of Y643 also inhibited Gab2-mediated G-CSF-stimulated cell proliferation. Together, these results identify a novel signaling pathway involving Jak2-dependent Gab2 phosphorylation leading to Erk1/2 activation and cell proliferation in response to G-CSF.
PMCID: PMC2788816  PMID: 18644434
Jak2; Gab2; cytokine signaling; myeloproliferative disorders; granulocyte colony-stimulating factor
18.  Gab2 regulates cytoskeletal organization and migration of mammary epithelial cells by modulating RhoA activation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(1):105-116.
The oncogenic signal transducer Gab2 mediates altered cytoskeletal organization and enhanced cell migration of mammary epithelial cells via down-regulation of RhoA activity. This sheds new light on the role of Gab2 in cancer cell metastasis.
The docking protein Gab2 is overexpressed in several human malignancies, including breast cancer, and is associated with increased metastatic potential. Here we report that Gab2 overexpression in MCF-10A mammary epithelial cells led to delayed cell spreading, a decrease in stress fibers and mature focal adhesions, and enhanced cell migration. Expression of a Gab2 mutant uncoupled from 14-3-3-mediated negative feedback (Gab22×A) led to a more mesenchymal morphology and acquisition of invasive potential. Expression of either Gab2 or Gab22×A led to decreased activation of RhoA, but only the latter increased levels of Rac-GTP. Expression of constitutively active RhoA in MCF-10A/Gab2 cells restored stress fibers and focal adhesions, indicating that Gab2 signals upstream of RhoA to suppress these structures. Mutation of the two Shp2-binding sites to phenylalanine (Gab2ΔShp2) markedly reduced the effects of Gab2 on cellular phenotype and RhoA activation. Expression of Gab2 or Gab22×A, but not Gab2ΔShp2, promoted Vav2 phosphorylation and plasma membrane recruitment of p190A RhoGAP. Knockdown of p190A RhoGAP reversed Gab2-mediated effects on stress fibers and focal adhesions. The identification of a novel pathway downstream of Gab2 involving negative regulation of RhoA by p190A RhoGAP sheds new light on the role of Gab2 in cancer progression.
PMCID: PMC3016968  PMID: 21118992
19.  Induced Expression and Association of the Mona/Gads Adapter and Gab3 Scaffolding Protein during Monocyte/Macrophage Differentiation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(11):3744-3756.
Mona/Gads is a Grb2-related, Src homology 3 (SH3) and SH2 domain-containing adapter protein whose expression is restricted to cells of hematopoietic lineage (i.e., monocytes and T lymphocytes). During monocyte/macrophage differentiation, Mona is induced and interacts with the macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor, M-CSFR (also called Fms), suggesting that Mona could be involved in developmental signaling downstream of the M-CSFR by recruiting additional signaling proteins to the activated receptor. Our present results identify Mona as a specific partner protein for the DOS/Gab family member Gab3 in monocytic/macrophage development. Mona does not interact with Gab2; however, Gab3 also forms a complex with the Mona-related adapter Grb2. Glutathione S-transferase pull-down experiments demonstrate that the Mona and Gab3 interaction utilizes the carboxy-terminal SH3 domain of Mona and the atypical proline-rich domain of Gab3. Mona is known to interact with the phosphorylated Y697 site of the M-CSFR. The M-CSFR mutation Y697F exhibited qualitative and quantitative abnormalities in receptor and Gab3 tyrosine phosphorylation, and Mona induction was greatly reduced. The Y807F M-CSFR mutation is defective in differentiation signaling, but not growth signaling, and also fails to induce Mona protein expression. During M-CSF-stimulated macrophage differentiation of mouse bone marrow cells, Mona and Gab3 expression is coinduced, these proteins interact, and Mona engages in multimolecular complexes. These data suggest that association of Mona and Gab3 plays a specific role in mediating the M-CSFR differentiation signal.
PMCID: PMC133813  PMID: 11997510
20.  The docking protein Gab1 is the primary mediator of EGF-stimulated activation of the PI-3K/Akt cell survival pathway 
BMC Biology  2004;2:24.
Gab1 is a docking protein that recruits phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI-3 kinase) and other effector proteins in response to the activation of many receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). As the autophosphorylation sites on EGF-receptor (EGFR) do not include canonical PI-3 kinase binding sites, it is thought that EGF stimulation of PI-3 kinase and its downstream effector Akt is mediated by an indirect mechanism.
We used fibroblasts isolated from Gab1-/- mouse embryos to explore the mechanism of EGF stimulation of the PI-3 kinase/Akt anti-apoptotic cell signaling pathway. We demonstrate that Gab1 is essential for EGF stimulation of PI-3 kinase and Akt in these cells and that these responses are mediated by complex formation between p85, the regulatory subunit of PI-3 kinase, and three canonical tyrosine phosphorylation sites on Gab1. Furthermore, complex formation between Gab1 and the protein tyrosine phosphatase Shp2 negatively regulates Gab1 mediated PI-3 kinase and Akt activation following EGF-receptor stimulation. We also demonstrate that tyrosine phosphorylation of ErbB3 may lead to recruitment and activation of PI-3 kinase and Akt in Gab1-/- MEFs.
The primary mechanism of EGF-induced stimulation of the PI-3 kinase/Akt anti-apoptotic pathway occurs via the docking protein Gab1. However, in cells expressing ErbB3, EGF and neuroregulin can stimulate PI-3 kinase and Akt activation in a Gab1-dependent or Gab1-independent manner.
PMCID: PMC534114  PMID: 15550174
21.  Inhibition of the Antigen-Induced Activation of RBL-2H3 Cells by Gab2 siRNA 
Gab2 plays an important role in FcεRI mediated signal events which lead to degranulation from mast cells. The present study was designed to investigate the effect of the synthetic Gab2 (scaffolding adapter Grb2-associated binder 2) siRNA on the antigen-induced activation of RBL-2H3 cells. A double stranded siRNA against Gab2-mRNA was synthesized and transfected into RBL-2H3 cells. After 6 h, cells were then sensitized with dinitrophenyl (DNP)-specific IgE overnight and challenged with dinitrophenyl-human serum albumin (DNP-HSA) to induce mast cell degranulation before supernatants were collected. Effects of Gab2 siRNA on antigen-induced release of β-hexosaminidase and histamine, cytokine production and regulation of the proteins in the pathway were measured by enzymatic assay, EIA, ELISA and Western blotting. Treatment with Gab2 siRNA significantly decreased Gab2 expression, inhibited the FcεRI-mediated mast cell release of β-hexosaminidase and histamine, reduced the production of IL-4 and TNF-α and inhibited the phosphorylation of Akt, PKCδ and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). Data showed that Gab2 siRNA could suppress the antigen-induced activation of RBL-2H3 cells and suggested a possible mechanism through inhibition of signaling molecules downstream of Gab2 in the FcεRI-mediated Ca2+-independent pathway. Furthermore, potential usefulness of Gab2 knock-down as a method for inhibition of mast cell-mediated allergic reactions was demonstrated.
PMCID: PMC4072416  PMID: 19118509
RNA interference; Gab2; RBL-2H3 cell
22.  c-Jun N-terminal Kinase 2 Regulates Multiple Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Pathways in Mouse Mammary Tumor Growth and Metastasis 
Genes & Cancer  2011;2(1):31-45.
c-Jun N-terminal kinase 2 (JNK2) isoforms are transcribed from the jnk2 gene and are highly homologous with jnk1 and jnk3 transcriptional products. JNK proteins mediate cell proliferation, stress response, and migration when activated by a variety of stimuli, including receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), but their ability to influence tumor metastasis is ill defined. To evaluate JNK2 in this manner, we used the highly metastatic 4T1.2 mammary tumor cells. Short hairpin RNA expression directed toward JNK2 (shJNK2) decreases tumor cell invasion. In vivo, shJNK2 expression slows tumor growth and inhibits lung metastasis. Subsequent analysis of tumors showed that shJNK2 tumors express lower GRB2-associated binding protein 2 (GAB2). In vitro, knockdown of JNK2 or GAB2 inhibits Akt activation by hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), insulin, and heregulin-1, while phosphorylation of ERK is constitutive and Src dependent. Knockdown of GAB2 phenocopies knockdown of JNK2 in vivo by reducing tumor growth and metastasis, supporting that JNK2 mediates tumor progression by regulating GAB2. The influence of jnk2 in the host or microenvironment was also evaluated using syngeneic jnk2–/– and jnk2+/+ mice. Jnk2–/– mice experience longer survival and less bone and lung metastasis compared to jnk2+/+ mice after intracardiac injection of 4T1.2 cells. GAB2 has previously been shown to mediate osteoclast differentiation, and osteoclasts are critical mediators of tumor-related osteolysis. Thus, studies focusing on the role of JNK2 on osteoclast differentiation were undertaken. ShJNK2 expression impairs osteoclast differentiation, independently of GAB2. Further, shJNK2 4T1.2 cells express less RANKL, a stimulant of osteoclast differentiation. Together, our data support that JNK2 conveys Src/phosphotidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signals important for tumor growth and metastasis by enhancing GAB2 expression. In osteoclast progenitor cells, JNK2 promotes differentiation, which may contribute to the progression of bone metastasis. These studies identify JNK2 as a tumor and host target to inhibit breast cancer growth and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3111003  PMID: 21779479
JNK2; metastasis; GAB2; receptor tyrosine kinases; osteoclast
23.  GAB2 induces tumor angiogenesis in NRAS-driven melanoma 
Oncogene  2012;32(31):10.1038/onc.2012.367.
GAB2 is a scaffold protein with diverse upstream and downstream effectors. MAPK and PI3K signaling pathways are known effectors of GAB2. It is amplified and overexpressed in a variety of human tumors including melanoma. Here we show a previously undescribed role for GAB2 in NRAS-driven melanoma. Specifically, we found that GAB2 is co-expressed with mutant NRAS in melanoma cell lines and tumor samples and its expression correlated with metastatic potential. Co-expression of GAB2WT and NRASG12D in melanocytes and in melanoma cells increased anchorage independent growth by providing GAB2-expressing cells a survival advantage through upregulation of BCL-2 family of anti-apoptotic factors. Of note, collaboration of GAB2 with mutant NRAS enhanced tumorigenesis in vivo and led to an increased vessel density with strong CD34 and VEGFR2 activity. We found that GAB2 facilitiated an angiogenic switch by upregulating HIF-1α and VEGF levels. This angiogenic response was significantly suppressed with the MEK inhibitor PD325901. These data suggest that GAB2-mediated signaling cascades collaborate with NRAS-driven downstream activation for conferring an aggressive phenotype in melanoma. Second, we show that GAB2/NRAS signaling axis is non-linear and non-redundant in melanocytes and melanoma, and thus are acting independent of each other. Finally, we establish a link between GAB2 and angiogenesis in melanoma for the first time. In conclusion, our findings provide evidence that GAB2 is a novel regulator of tumor angiogenesis in NRAS-driven melanoma through regulation of HIF-1α and VEGF expressions mediated by RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK signaling.
PMCID: PMC3813964  PMID: 22926523
oncogene; melanoma; angiogenesis; scaffold; adaptor
24.  Gab Adapter Proteins as Therapeutic Targets for Hematologic Disease 
Advances in Hematology  2011;2012:380635.
The Grb-2 associated binder (Gab) family of scaffolding/adaptor/docking proteins is a group of three molecules with significant roles in cytokine receptor signaling. Gabs possess structural motifs for phosphorylation-dependent receptor recruitment, Grb2 binding, and activation of downstream signaling pathways through p85 and SHP-2. In addition, Gabs participate in hematopoiesis and regulation of immune response which can be aberrantly activated in cancer and inflammation. The multifunctionality of Gab adapters might suggest that they would be too difficult to consider as candidates for “targeted” therapy. However, the one drug/one target approach is giving way to the concept of one drug/multiple target approach since few cancers are addicted to a single signaling molecule for survival and combination drug therapies can be problematic. In this paper, we cover recent findings on Gab multi-functionality, binding partners, and their role in hematological malignancy and examine the concept of Gab-targeted therapy.
PMCID: PMC3246295  PMID: 22216034
The Journal of biological chemistry  2006;281(29):19925-19938.
Grb2-associated binder 1 (GAB1) is a scaffold protein involved in numerous interactions that propagate signaling by growth factor and cytokine receptors. Here we explore in silico and validate in vivo the role of GAB1 in the control of mitogenic (Ras/MAPK) and survival (PI3K/Akt) signaling stimulated by epidermal growth factor (EGF). We built a comprehensive mechanistic model that allows for reliable predictions of temporal patterns of cellular responses to EGF under diverse perturbations, including different EGF doses, GAB1 suppression, expression of mutant proteins and pharmacological inhibitors. We show that the temporal dynamics of GAB1 tyrosine phosphorylation is significantly controlled by positive GAB1-PI3K feedback and negative MAPK-GAB1 feedback. Our experimental and computational results demonstrate that the essential function of GAB1 is to enhance PI3K/Akt activation and extend the duration of Ras/MAPK signaling. By amplifying positive interactions between survival and mitogenic pathways, GAB1 plays the critical role in cell proliferation and tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC2312093  PMID: 16687399

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