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J Biol Chem. 1999 Dec 10;274(50):35621-9.

DFak56 is a novel Drosophila melanogaster focal adhesion kinase.

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  • 1Salk Institute, Molecular Biology and Virology Laboratory, La Jolla, California 92037-1099, USA.


The mammalian focal adhesion kinase (FAK) family of nonreceptor protein-tyrosine kinases have been implicated in controlling a multitude of cellular responses to the engagement of cell surface integrins and G protein-coupled receptors. We describe here a Drosophila melanogaster FAK homologue, DFak56, which maps to band 56D on the right arm of the second chromosome. Full-length DFak56 cDNA encodes a phosphoprotein of 140 kDa, which shares strong sequence similarity not only with mammalian p125(FAK) but also with the more recently described mammalian Pyk2 (also known as CAKbeta, RAFTK, FAK2, and CADTK) FAK family member. DFak56 has intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity and is phosphorylated on tyrosine in vivo. As is the case for FAK, tyrosine phosphorylation of DFak56 is increased upon plating Drosophila embryo cells on extracellular matrix proteins. In situ hybridization and immunofluorescence staining analysis showed that DFak56 is ubiquitously expressed with particularly high levels within the developing central nervous system. We utilized the UAS-GAL4 expression system to express DFak56 and analyze its function in vivo. Overexpression of DFak56 in the wing imaginal disc results in wing blistering in adults, a phenotype also observed with both position-specific integrin loss of function and position-specific integrin overexpression. Our results imply a role for DFak56 in adhesion-dependent signaling pathways in vivo during D. melanogaster development.

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