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J Cell Biol. 2006 May 22;173(4):587-9.

Paxillin phosphorylation at Ser273 localizes a GIT1-PIX-PAK complex and regulates adhesion and protrusion dynamics.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


Continuous adhesion formation and disassembly (adhesion turnover) in the protrusions of migrating cells is regulated by unclear mechanisms. We show that p21-activated kinase (PAK)-induced phosphorylation of serine 273 in paxillin is a critical regulator of this turnover. Paxillin-S273 phosphorylation dramatically increases migration, protrusion, and adhesion turnover by increasing paxillin-GIT1 binding and promoting the localization of a GIT1-PIX-PAK signaling module near the leading edge. Mutants that interfere with the formation of this ternary module abrogate the effects of paxillin-S273 phosphorylation. PAK-dependent paxillin-S273 phosphorylation functions in a positive-feedback loop, as active PAK, active Rac, and myosin II activity are all downstream effectors of this turnover pathway. Finally, our studies led us to identify in highly motile cells a class of small adhesions that reside near the leading edge, turnover in 20-30 s, and resemble those seen with paxillin-S273 phosphorylation. These adhesions appear to be regulated by the GIT1-PIX-PAK module near the leading edge.

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