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The hyaluronan (HA) receptor for endocytosis (HARE) mediates the endocytotic clearance of HA and other glycosaminoglycans from lymph and blood. Two isoforms of human HARE, 315- and 190-kDa, are highly expressed in sinusoidal endothelial cells of liver, lymph node, and spleen; HARE is also in specialized cells in the eye, heart, brain, and kidney. Here we determined whether HA binding to HARE initiates intracellular signaling in Flp-In 293 cells stably expressing either the 315- and 190-kDa HARE or the 190-kDa HARE alone. HARE was co-immunoprecipitated with extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2), c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK), and p38 members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling cascade. ERK phosphorylation increased in a dose- and time-dependent manner when HA was added to cells expressing full-length or 190-kDa HARE, but not cells with vector-only or a HARE(ΔLink) construct with greatly decreased (~90%) HA uptake. HA did not induce phosphorylation of JNK or p38. A maximum increase in phospho-ERK1/2 occurred within 30 min at 5 μg/ml HA, and the response was dampened at >20 μg/ml HA. HA binding did not increase the level of HARE-ERK complexes, but did increase HARE phosphorylation. These findings demonstrate a novel functional response, when HARE binds HA, that leads to activation of ERK1/2, important mediators of intracellular signal transduction.