Departmental Papers (ESE)


Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) transduces cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix into proliferative signals. We show that FAK overexpression induced proliferation in endothelial cells, which are normally growth arrested by limited adhesion. Interestingly, displacement of FAK from adhesions by using a FAK−/− cell line or by expressing the C-terminal fragment FRNK also caused an escape of adhesion-regulated growth arrest, suggesting dual positive and negative roles for FAK in growth regulation. Expressing kinase-dead FAK-Y397F in FAK−/− cells prevented uncontrolled growth, demonstrating the antiproliferative function of inactive FAK. Unlike FAK overexpression–induced growth, loss of growth control in FAK−/− or FRNK-expressing cells increased RhoA activity, cytoskeletal tension, and focal adhesion formation. ROCK inhibition rescued adhesion-dependent growth control in these cells, and expression of constitutively active RhoA or ROCK dysregulated growth. These findings demonstrate the ability of FAK to suppress and promote growth, and underscore the importance of multiple mechanisms, even from one molecule, to control cell proliferation.

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

July 2006


Copyright The Rockefeller University Press. This research was originally published in The Journal of Cell Biology, Volume 174, Issue 2, July 2006, pages 277-288.
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Date Posted: 27 November 2006