The SH3 and SH2 domain-containing adapter proteins Nck1 and Nck2 are known to function downstream of activated tyrosine kinase receptors, such as the platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptors. The SH2 domain of Nck1 binds to phosphorylated tyrosine residue 751 in PDGFβ receptor and has been suggested to have a role in the PDGF-induced mobilization of the actin filament system. Because Tyr-751 is a site for additional receptor interactors, it has been difficult to discriminate the signaling from Nck from signaling via other molecules. For this reason we have used mouse embryonic fibroblasts derived from mice in which the genes for Nck1 and Nck2 have been inactivated by gene targeting (knock-out (KO) cells). The mutant cells had a reduced ability to form edge ruffles in response to PDGF, and the presence of Nck was obligatory for the formation of dorsal ruffles. In addition, the KO cells had a reduced chemotactic and migratory potential. Importantly, KO cells had reduced cell attachment properties and a reduced ability to form focal adhesions in response to serum stimulation. Moreover, signaling involving the Rho GTPases was defective in KO cells. In summary, our observations suggest that the Nck adapters are needed for signaling to Rho GTPases and actin dynamics downstream of the PDGFβ receptor
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