Hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) induces cell scattering through the tyrosine kinase–type HGF/SF receptor c-Met. We have previously shown that Rho small G protein (Rho) is involved in the HGF/SF-induced scattering of Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells by regulating at least the assembly and disassembly of stress fibers and focal adhesions, but it remains unknown how c-Met regulates Rho activity. We have found here a novel signaling pathway of c-Met consisting of SHP-2-Rho that regulates the assembly and disassembly of stress fibers and focal adhesions in MDCK cells. SHP-2 is a protein-tyrosine phosphatase that contains src homology-2 domains. Expression of a dominant negative mutant of SHP-2 (SHP-2-C/S) markedly increased the formation of stress fibers and focal adhesions in MDCK cells and inhibited their scattering. C3, a Clostridium botulinum ADP-ribosyltransferase, and Y-27632, a specific inhibitor for ROCK, reversed the stimulatory effect of SHP-2-C/S on stress fiber formation and the inhibitory effect on cell scattering. Vav2 is a GDP/GTP exchange protein for Rho. Expression of a dominant negative mutant of Vav2 blocked the stimulatory effect of SHP-2-C/S on stress fiber formation. Conversely, expression of mutants of Vav2 that increased stress fiber formation inhibited HGF/SF-induced cell scattering. These results indicate that SHP-2 physiologically modulates the activity of Rho to form stress fibers and focal adhesions and thereby regulates HGF/SF-induced cell scattering. In addition, Vav2 may be involved in the SHP-2-Rho pathway
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