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Curr Biol. 2007 Mar 6;17(5):445-51. Epub 2007 Feb 15.

A critical role for cortactin phosphorylation by Abl-family kinases in PDGF-induced dorsal-wave formation.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Proper regulation of cell morphogenesis and migration by adhesion and growth-factor receptors requires Abl-family tyrosine kinases [1-3]. Several substrates of Abl-family kinase have been identified, but they are unlikely to mediate all of the downstream actions of these kinases on cytoskeletal structure. We used a human protein microarray to identify the actin-regulatory protein cortactin as a novel substrate of the Abl and Abl-related gene (Arg) nonreceptor tyrosine kinases. Cortactin stimulates cell motility [4-6], and its upregulation in several cancers correlates with poor prognosis [7]. Even though cortactin can be tyrosine phosphorylated by Src-family kinases in vitro [8], we show that Abl and Arg are more adept at binding and phosphorylating cortactin. Importantly, we demonstrate that platelet-derived growth-factor (PDGF)-induced cortactin phosphorylation on three tyrosine residues requires Abl or Arg. Cortactin triggers F-actin-dependent dorsal waves in fibroblasts after PDGF treatment and thus results in actin reorganization and lamellipodial protrusion [9]. We provide evidence that Abl/Arg-mediated phosphorylation of cortactin is required for this PDGF-induced dorsal-wave response. Our results reveal that Abl-family kinases target cortactin as an effector of cytoskeletal rearrangements in response to PDGF.

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