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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2008 Aug;65(8):662-74. doi: 10.1002/cm.20294.

CaMK-II promotes focal adhesion turnover and cell motility by inducing tyrosine dephosphorylation of FAK and paxillin.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA.


Transient elevations in Ca2+ have previously been shown to promote focal adhesion disassembly and cell motility through an unknown mechanism. In this study, evidence is provided to show that CaMK-II, a Ca2+/calmodulin dependent protein kinase, influences fibroblast adhesion and motility. TIRF microscopy reveals a dynamic population of CaMK-II at the cell surface in migrating cells. Inhibition of CaMK-II with two mechanistically distinct, membrane permeant inhibitors (KN-93 and myr-AIP) freezes lamellipodial dynamics, accelerates spreading on fibronectin, enlarges paxillin-containing focal adhesions and blocks cell motility. In contrast, constitutively active CaMK-II is not found at the cell surface, reduces cell attachment, eliminates paxillin from focal adhesions and decreases the phospho-tyrosine levels of both FAK and paxillin; all of these events can be reversed with myr-AIP. Thus, both CaMK-II inhibition and constitutive activation block cell motility through over-stabilization or destabilization of focal adhesions, respectively. Coupled with the existence of transient Ca2+ elevations and a dynamic CaMK-II population, these findings provide the first direct evidence that CaMK-II enables cell motility by transiently and locally stimulating tyrosine dephosphorylation of focal adhesion proteins to promote focal adhesion turnover.

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