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J Biol Chem. 1997 Jun 13;272(24):15442-51.

Vascular endothelial growth factor stimulates tyrosine phosphorylation and recruitment to new focal adhesions of focal adhesion kinase and paxillin in endothelial cells.

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Cruciform Project and Department of Medicine, University College London, 5 University Street, London WC1E 6JJ, United Kingdom.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) stimulated the tyrosine phosphorylation of multiple components in confluent human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) including bands of Mr 205,000, corresponding to the VEGF receptors Flt-1 and KDR, and Mr 145,000, 120,000, 97,000, and 65,000-70,000. VEGF caused a striking and transient increase in mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase activity and stimulated phospholipase C-gamma tyrosine phosphorylation, but it had no effect on phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase activity. VEGF caused a marked increase in tyrosine phosphorylation of p125 focal adhesion kinase (p125(FAK)), which was both rapid and concentration-dependent. VEGF produced similar effects on p125(FAK) in the endothelial cell line ECV.304. VEGF stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of the 68-kDa focal adhesion-associated component, paxillin, with similar kinetics and concentration dependence to that for p125(FAK). Thrombin and the phorbol ester, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, also increased p125(FAK) tyrosine phosphorylation in HUVECs. The effect of VEGF on p125(FAK) tyrosine phosphorylation was completely inhibited by the actin filament-disrupting agent cytochalasin D and was partially inhibited by the protein kinase C inhibitor GF109203X. Inhibition of the MAP kinase pathway using a specific inhibitor of MAP kinase kinase had no effect on p125(FAK) tyrosine phosphorylation. VEGF stimulated migration and actin stress fiber formation in confluent HUVEC, and VEGF-induced p125(FAK)/paxillin tyrosine phosphorylation was accompanied by increased immunofluorescent staining of p125(FAK), paxillin, and phosphotyrosine in focal adhesions in confluent cultures of HUVECs. These findings identify p125(FAK) and paxillin as components in a VEGF-stimulated signaling pathway and suggest a novel mechanism for VEGF regulation of endothelial cell functions.

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