Tetraspanin CD81 is linked to ERK/MAPKinase signaling by Shc in liver tumor cells

Vinicio Carloni, Antonio Mazzocca, Kodimangalam S. Ravichandran

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65 Scopus citations


Tetraspanins is a large family of membrane proteins that are implicated in cell proliferation, differentiation and tumor invasion. Specifically, the tetraspanin CD81 has been involved in cell proliferation but the mechanism is unknown. Here, we show that CD81 clustering stimulates ERK/MAPKinase activity and tyrosine phosphorylation of the adapter protein She in Huh7 cancer cells. In addition, overexpression of CD81 in HepG2 cells, NIH3T3 cells, and murine fibroblasts GD25 lacking the β1 family of integrins induces cell proliferation and ERK/ MAPKinase activation. Linked with this event, we observed an increase in CD81-associated type II phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase activity. A mutant in the PTB domain of She failed to interact with phosphoinositides and localize to the plasma membrane thus blocking CD81-induced ERK/MAPKinase activation. Therefore, we conclude that CD81 stimulates synthesis of phosphoinositides with the recruitment of She to the plasma membrane via PTB domain, and this sequence of events induces activation of ERK/MAPKinase. These findings define a novel mechanism of ERK/MAPKinase activation and tumor cell proliferation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1566-1574
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 26 2004


  • Cell growth
  • Phosphatidylinositol-4 kinase
  • Phosphatidylinositol-4 phosphate


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