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EMBO J. 1998 Oct 15;17(20):5933-47.

Pyk2 and Src-family protein-tyrosine kinases compensate for the loss of FAK in fibronectin-stimulated signaling events but Pyk2 does not fully function to enhance FAK- cell migration.

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The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Immunology, IMM-26, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The focal adhesion kinase (FAK) protein-tyrosine kinase (PTK) links transmembrane integrin receptors to intracellular signaling pathways. We show that expression of the FAK-related PTK, Pyk2, is elevated in fibroblasts isolated from murine fak-/- embryos (FAK-) compared with cells from fak+/+ embryos (FAK+). Pyk2 was localized to perinuclear regions in both FAK+ and FAK- cells. Pyk2 tyrosine phosphorylation was enhanced by fibronectin (FN) stimulation of FAK- but not FAK+ cells. Increased Pyk2 tyrosine phosphorylation paralleled the time-course of Grb2 binding to Shc and activation of ERK2 in FAK- cells. Pyk2 in vitro autophosphorylation activity was not enhanced by FN plating of FAK- cells. However, Pyk2 associated with active Src-family PTKs after FN but not poly-L-lysine replating of the FAK- cells. Overexpression of both wild-type (WT) and kinase-inactive (Ala457), but not the autophosphorylation site mutant (Phe402) Pyk2, enhanced endogenous FN-stimulated c-Src in vitro kinase activity in FAK- cells, but only WT Pyk2 overexpression enhanced FN-stimulated activation of co-transfected ERK2. Interestingly, Pyk2 overexpression only weakly augmented FAK- cell migration to FN whereas transient FAK expression promoted FAK- cell migration to FN efficiently compared with FAK+ cells. Significantly, repression of endogenous Src-family PTK activity by p50(csk) overexpression inhibited FN-stimulated cell spreading, Pyk2 tyrosine phosphorylation, Grb2 binding to Shc, and ERK2 activation in the FAK- but not in FAK+ cells. These studies show that Pyk2 and Src-family PTKs combine to promote FN-stimulated signaling events to ERK2 in the absence of FAK, but that these signaling events are not sufficient to overcome the FAK- cell migration defects.

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