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Bioessays. 1997 Feb;19(2):137-45.

Signaling through focal adhesion kinase.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232, USA.


Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a nonreceptor protein-tyrosine kinase implicated in controlling cellular responses to the engagement of cell-surface integrins, including cell spreading and migration, survival and proliferation. Aberrant FAK signaling may contribute to the process of cell transformation by certain oncoproteins, including v-Src. Progress toward elucidating the events leading to FAK activation following integrin-mediated cell adhesion, as well as events downstream of FAK, has come through the identification of FAK phosphorylation sites and interacting proteins. A signaling partnership is formed between FAK and Src-family kinases, leading to tyrosine phosphorylation of FAK and associated 'docking' proteins Cas and paxillin. Subsequent recruitment of proteins containing Src homology 2 domains, including Grb2 and c-Crk, to the complex is likely to trigger adhesion-induced cellular responses, including changes to the actin cytoskeleton and activation of the Ras-MAP kinase pathway.

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