The number of distinct signaling pathways that can transactivate the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in a single cell type is unclear. Using a single strain of human mammary epithelial cells, we found that a wide variety of agonists, such as lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), uridine triphosphate, growth hormone, vascular endothelial growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, require EGFR activity to induce ERK phosphorylation. In contrast, hepatocyte growth factor can stimulate ERK phosphorylation independent of the EGFR. EGFR transactivation also correlated with an increase in cell proliferation and could be inhibited with metalloprotease inhibitors. However, there were significant differences with respect to transactivation kinetics and sensitivity to different inhibitors. In particular, IGF-1 displayed relatively slow transactivation kinetics and was resistant to inhibition by the selective ADAM-17 inhibitor WAY-022 compared with LPA-induced transactivation. Studies using anti-ligand antibodies showed that IGF-1 transactivation required amphiregulin production, whereas LPA was dependent on multiple ligands. Direct measurement of ligand shedding confirmed that LPA treatment stimulated shedding of multiple EGFR ligands, but paradoxically, IGF-1 had little effect on the shedding rate of any ligand, including amphiregulin. Instead, IGF-1 appeared to work by enhancing EGFR activation of Ras in response to constitutively produced amphiregulin. This enhancement of EGFR signaling was independent of both receptor phosphorylation and PI-3-kinase activity, suggestive of a novel mechanism. Our studies demonstrate that within a single cell type, the EGFR autocrine system can couple multiple signaling pathways to ERK activation and that this modulation of EGFR autocrine signaling can be accomplished at multiple regulatory steps.