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Cell Signal. 2011 Jan;23(1):288-96. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2010.09.015. Epub 2010 Sep 16.

The Pyk2 FERM regulates Pyk2 complex formation and phosphorylation.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, USA.


The focal adhesion kinase Pyk2 integrates signals from cell adhesion receptors, growth factor receptors, and G-protein-coupled receptors leading to the activation of intracellular signaling pathways that regulate cellular phenotypes. The intrinsic mechanism for the activation of Pyk2 activity remains to be fully defined. Previously, we reported that mutations in the N-terminal FERM domain result in loss of Pyk2 activity and expression of the FERM domain as an autonomous fragment inhibits Pyk2 activity. In the present study, we sought to determine the mechanism that underlies these effects. Utilizing differentially epitope-tagged Pyk2 constructs, we observed that Pyk2 forms oligomeric complexes in cells and that complex formation correlates positively with tyrosine phosphorylation. Similarly, when expressed as an autonomous fragment, the Pyk2 FERM domain formed a complex with other Pyk2 FERM domains but not the FAK FERM domain. When co-expressed with full-length Pyk2, the autonomously expressed Pyk2 FERM domain formed a complex with full-length Pyk2 preventing the formation of Pyk2 oligomers and resulting in reduced Pyk2 phosphorylation. Deletion of the FERM domain from Pyk2 enhanced Pyk2 complex formation and phosphorylation. Together, these data indicate that the Pyk2 FERM domain is involved in the regulation of Pyk2 activity by acting to regulate the formation of Pyk2 oligomers that are critical for Pyk2 activity.

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