In addition to its important functions in detoxification of foreign chemicals and biosynthesis of steroid hormones, the cytochrome P450 enzyme system metabolizes arachidonate to 14,15-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (14,15-EET). This study demonstrates that a P450 arachidonate epoxygenase metabolite can activate cleavage of heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) and delineates an essential role for HB-EGF in the mitogenic effects of this lipid mediator. Blockade of HB-EGF processing or EGF receptor (EGFR) inhibited 14,15-EET-stimulated early mitogenic signals and DNA synthesis. 14,15-EET failed to induce mitogenesis in cell lines expressing minimal HB-EGF, whereas 14,15-EET induced soluble HB-EGF release into the conditioned media of cell lines that both express high levels of HB-EGF and display mitogenic response to this lipid mediator. Moreover, transfection of a bacterial 14,15-epoxygenase established intracellular endogenous 14,15-EET biosynthesis in cultured cell systems, which allowed direct confirmation of involvement of EGFR transactivation in the endogenous 14,15-EET-mediated mitogenic signaling pathway. This mechanism involves EET-dependent activation of metalloproteinases and release of the potent mitogenic EGFR ligand, HB-EGF.