Integrin-mediated activation of MAP kinase is independent of FAK: Evidence for dual integrin signaling pathways in fibroblasts

Tsung H. Lin, Andrew E. Aplin, Yu Shen, Qiming Chen, Michael Schaller, Lewis Romer, Ikramuddin Aukhil, R. L. Juliano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

217 Scopus citations


Integrin-mediated cell adhesion causes activation of MAP kinases and increased tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Autophosphorylation of FAK leads to the binding of SH2-domain proteins including Src-family kinases and the Grb2-Sos complex. Since Grb2-Sos is a key regulator of the Ras signal transduction pathway, one plausible hypothesis has been that integrin-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of FAK leads to activation of the Ras cascade and ultimately to mitogen activated protein(MAP) kinase activation. Thus, in this scenario FAK would serve as an upstream regulator of MAP kinase activity. However, in this report we present several lines of evidence showing that integrin-mediated MAP kinase activity in fibroblasts is independent of FAK. First, a β1 integrin subunit deletion mutant affecting the putative FAK binding site supports activation of MAP kinase in adhering fibroblasts but not tyrosine phosphorylation of FAK. Second, fibroblast adhesion to bacterially expressed fragments of fibronectin demonstrates that robust activation of MAP kinase can precede tyrosine phosphorylation of FAK. Finally, we have used FRNK, the noncatalytic COOH- terminal domain of FAK, as a dominant negative inhibitor of FAK autophosphorylation and of tyrosine phosphorylation of focal contacts. Using retroviral infection, we demonstrate that levels of FRNK expression sufficient to completely block FAK tyrosine phosphorylation were without effect on integrin-mediated activation of MAP kinase. These results strongly suggest that integrin-mediated activation of MAP kinase is independent of FAK and indicate the probable existence of at least two distinct integrin signaling pathways in fibroblasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1385-1395
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 24 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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