The proto-oncogene c-Src has been implicated in the development and progression of a number of human cancers including those of colon and breast. Accumulating evidence indicates that activated alleles of Src may induce cell transformation through Ras-ERK-dependent and -independent pathways. Here we show that Rac1 activity is strongly elevated in Src-transformed cells and that this small G protein is a critical component of the pathway connecting oncogenic Src with cell transformation. We further show that Vav2 and the ubiquitously expressed Rac1 guanine nucleotide exchange factor Tiam1 are phosphorylated in tyrosine residues in cells transfected with active and oncogenic Src. Moreover, phosphorylation of Tiam1 in cells treated with pervanadate, a potent inhibitor of tyrosine phosphatases, was partially inhibited by the Src inhibitor SU6656. Using truncated mutants of Tiam1, we demonstrate that multiple sites can be tyrosine-phosphorylated by Src. Furthermore, Tiam1 cooperated with Src to induce activation of Rac1 in vivo and the formation of membrane ruffles. Similarly, activation of JNK and the c-jun promoter by Src were also potently increased by Tiam1. Together, these results suggest that Vav2 and Tiam1 may act as downstream effectors of Src, thereby regulating Rac1-dependent pathways that participate in Src-induced cell transformation.
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