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J Biol Chem. 2002 Nov 22;277(47):45203-10. Epub 2002 Sep 12.

Activation of pyk2/related focal adhesion tyrosine kinase and focal adhesion kinase in cardiac remodeling.

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Children's Hospital Research Foundation, Division of Molecular Cardiovascular Biology, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229, USA.


Cellular remodeling during progression of dilation involves focal adhesion contact reorganization. However, the signaling mechanisms and structural consequences leading to impaired cardiomyocyte adhesion are poorly defined. These events were studied in tropomodulin-overexpressing transgenic mice that develop dilated cardiomyopathy associated with chronic elevation of intracellular calcium. Analysis of tropomodulin-overexpressing transgenic hearts by immunoblot and confocal microscopy revealed activation and redistribution of signaling molecules known to regulate adhesion. Calcium-dependent pyk2/related focal adhesion tyrosine kinase (RAFTK) showed changes in expression and phosphorylation state, similar to changes observed for a related downstream target molecule of pyk2/RAFTK termed focal adhesion kinase. Paxillin, the target substrate molecule for focal adhesion kinase phosphorylation, was redistributed in tropomodulin-overexpressing transgenic hearts with enhanced paxillin phosphorylation and cleavage. Certain aspects of the in vivo signaling phenotype including increased paxillin phosphorylation could be recapitulated in vitro using neonatal rat cardiomyocytes infected with recombinant adenovirus to overexpress tropomodulin. In addition, increasing intracellular calcium levels with ionomycin induced pyk2/RAFTK phosphorylation, and adenovirally mediated expression of wild-type pyk2/RAFTK resulted in increased phospho-pyk2/RAFTK levels and concomitant paxillin phosphorylation. Collectively, these results delineate a cardiomyocyte signaling pathway associated with dilation that has potential relevance for cardiac remodeling, focal adhesion reorganization, and loss of contractility.

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