A common feature of most isolated cell systems is low or undetectable levels of bioactive cytochrome P450. We therefore developed stable transfectants of the renal epithelial cell line, LLCPKcl4, that expressed an active regio- and enantioselective arachidonic acid (AA) epoxygenase. Site-specific mutagenesis was used to convert bacterial P450 BM-3 into an active regio- and stereoselective 14S,15R-epoxygenase (F87V BM-3). In clones expressing F87V BM-3 (F87V BM-3 cells), exogenous AA induced significant 14S,15R-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET) production (241. 82 ng/10(8) cells, >97% of total EETs), whereas no detectable EETs were seen in cells transfected with vector alone. In F87V BM-3 cells, AA stimulated [3H]thymidine incorporation and increased cell proliferation, which was blocked by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, genistein, by the phosphatidylinositol 3 (PI-3) kinase inhibitors, wortmannin and LY294002, and by the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitor, PD98059. AA also induced tyrosine phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and PI-3 kinase that was inhibited by the cytochrome P450 BM-3 inhibitor, 17-ODYA. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) increased EET production in F87V BM-3 cells, which was completely abolished by pretreatment with either 17-ODYA or the phospholipase A2 (PLA2) inhibitor, quinacrine. Compared with vector-transfected cells, F87 BM-3 transfected cells demonstrated marked increases in both the extent and sensitivity of DNA synthesis in response to EGF. These changes occurred in the absence of significant differences in EGF receptor expression. As seen with exogenous AA, EGF increased ERK tyrosine phosphorylation to a significantly greater extent in F87V BM-3 cells than in vector-transfected cells. Furthermore, in these control cells, neither 17-ODYA nor quinacrine inhibited EGF-induced ERK tyrosine phosphorylation. On the other hand, in F87V BM-3 cells, both inhibitors reduced ERK tyrosine phosphorylation to levels indistinguishable from that seen in cells transfected with vector alone. These studies provide the first unequivocal evidence for a role for the AA epoxygenase pathway and endogenous EET synthesis in EGF-mediated signaling and mitogenesis and provide compelling evidence for the PLA2-AA-EET pathway as an important intracellular-signaling pathway in cells expressing high levels of cytochrome P450 epoxygenase.