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J Biol Chem. 1997 May 16;272(20):13189-95.

Focal adhesion kinase overexpression enhances ras-dependent integrin signaling to ERK2/mitogen-activated protein kinase through interactions with and activation of c-Src.

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  • 1Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Molecular Biology and Virology Laboratory, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Cell adhesion to extracellular matrix proteins such as fibronectin (FN) triggers a number of intracellular signaling events including the increased tyrosine phosphorylation of the cytoplasmic focal adhesion protein-tyrosine kinase (PTK) and also the stimulation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase ERK2. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) associates with integrin receptors, and FN-stimulated phosphorylation of FAK at Tyr-397 and Tyr-925 promotes the binding of Src family PTKs and Grb2, respectively. To investigate the mechanisms by which FAK, c-Src, and Grb2 function in FN-stimulated signaling events to ERK2, we expressed wild type and mutant forms of FAK in human 293 epithelial cells by transient transfection. FAK overexpression enhanced FN-stimulated activation of ERK2 approximately 4-fold. This was blocked by co-expression of the dominant negative Asn-17 mutant Ras, indicating that FN stimulation of ERK2 was Ras-dependent. FN-stimulated c-Src PTK activity was enhanced by wild type FAK expression, whereas FN-stimulated activation of ERK2 was blocked by expression of the c-Src binding site Phe-397 mutant of FAK. Expression of the Grb2 binding site Phe-925 mutant of FAK enhanced activation of ERK2, whereas a kinase-inactive Arg-454 mutant FAK did not. Expression of wild type and Phe-925 FAK, but not Phe-397 FAK, enhanced p130(Cas) association with FAK, Shc tyrosine phosphorylation, and Grb2 binding to Shc after FN stimulation. FN-induced Grb2-Shc association is another pathway leading to activation of ERK2 via Ras. The inhibitory effects of Tyr-397 FAK expression show that FAK-mediated association and activation of c-Src is essential for maximal signaling to ERK2. Moreover, multiple signaling pathways are activated upon the formation of an FAK.c-Src complex, and several of these can lead to Ras-dependent ERK2 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation.

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