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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jul 30;279(31):33024-34. Epub 2004 May 27.

Focal adhesion kinase is upstream of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt in regulating fibroblast survival in response to contraction of type I collagen matrices via a beta 1 integrin viability signaling pathway.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 55455, USA.


The beta(1) integrin, functioning as a mechanoreceptor, senses a mechanical stimulus generated during collagen matrix contraction and down-regulates the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt survival signal triggering apoptosis. The identities of integrin-associated signal molecules in the focal adhesion complex that are responsible for propagating beta(1) integrin viability signals in response to collagen matrix contraction are not known. Here we show that in response to collagen contraction focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is dephosphorylated. In contrast, enforced activation of beta(1) integrin by anti-beta(1) integrin antibody, which protects fibroblasts from apoptosis, preserves FAK phosphorylation. We demonstrate that ligation of beta(1) integrin by type I collagen or by enforced activation of beta(1) integrin by antibody promotes phosphorylation of FAK, p85 subunit of PI3K, and serine 473 of Akt. Wortmannin inhibited Akt but not FAK phosphorylation in response to enforced activation of beta(1) integrin by antibody. Blocking FAK by pharmacologic inhibition or by dominant negative FAK attenuated phosphorylation of p85 subunit of PI3K and Akt. Dominant negative FAK augmented fibroblast apoptosis during collagen contraction, and this was associated with diminished Akt activity. Constitutively active FAK augmented levels of p85 subunit of PI3K and Akt phosphorylation, and fibroblasts were protected from apoptosis. Our data identify a novel role for FAK, functioning upstream of PI3K/Akt, in transducing a beta(1) integrin viability signal in collagen matrices.

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