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Cell Signal. 2004 Nov;16(11):1273-81.

Role of focal adhesion formation in migration and morphogenesis of endothelial cells.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Division of Endothelial Cell Biology, Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Science, 1-7-1 Sakamoto, 852-8501, Japan.


Cell motility and morphogenesis are regulated by a balance between formation and disassembly of stress fibers and focal adhesions. To understand the mechanisms underlying these cellular responses in angiogenesis, we studied the Rho family protein-driven pathways in FGF-2-induced chemotaxis and capillary morphogenesis of murine brain capillary endothelial cell line, IBE cells. Cells seeded onto fibronectin-coated surface migrated toward FGF-2. Expression of dominant negative Rho A (DNRho) or kinase-dead p21-activated kinase 1 (KDPAK1), or treatment with Y27632 inhibited chemotaxis in association with the lack of FGF-2-induced decrease in focal adhesions. On Matrigel, DNRho and Y27632 induced FGF-2-independent capillary morphogenesis despite loss of stress fiber formation. KDPAK1 cells formed stress fibers and showed capillary morphogenesis in response to FGF-2. Increase in focal adhesions was closely associated with capillary morphogenesis. Our results suggest that formation or disassembly of focal adhesions seems to determine the motility or morphogenesis of endothelial cells.

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