FAK Structure and Regulation by Membrane Interactions and Force in Focal Adhesions.
ABSTRACT: Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a non-receptor tyrosine kinase with key roles in the regulation of cell adhesion migration, proliferation and survival. In cancer FAK is a major driver of invasion and metastasis and its upregulation is associated with poor patient prognosis. FAK is autoinhibited in the cytosol, but activated upon localisation into a protein complex, known as focal adhesion complex. This complex forms upon cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix (ECM) at the cytoplasmic side of the plasma membrane at sites of ECM attachment. FAK is anchored to the complex via multiple sites, including direct interactions with specific membrane lipids and connector proteins that attach focal adhesions to the actin cytoskeleton. In migrating cells, the contraction of actomyosin stress fibres attached to the focal adhesion complex apply a force to the complex, which is likely transmitted to the FAK protein, causing stretching of the FAK molecule. In this review we discuss the current knowledge of the FAK structure and how specific structural features are involved in the regulation of FAK signalling. We focus on two major regulatory mechanisms known to contribute to FAK activation, namely interactions with membrane lipids and stretching forces applied to FAK, and discuss how they might induce structural changes that facilitate FAK activation.
Project description:Cell adhesions to the extracellular matrix (ECM) are necessary for morphogenesis, immunity and wound healing. Focal adhesions are multifunctional organelles that mediate cell-ECM adhesion, force transmission, cytoskeletal regulation and signalling. Focal adhesions consist of a complex network of trans-plasma-membrane integrins and cytoplasmic proteins that form a?<200-nm plaque linking the ECM to the actin cytoskeleton. The complexity of focal adhesion composition and dynamics implicate an intricate molecular machine. However, focal adhesion molecular architecture remains unknown. Here we used three-dimensional super-resolution fluorescence microscopy (interferometric photoactivated localization microscopy) to map nanoscale protein organization in focal adhesions. Our results reveal that integrins and actin are vertically separated by a ?40-nm focal adhesion core region consisting of multiple protein-specific strata: a membrane-apposed integrin signalling layer containing integrin cytoplasmic tails, focal adhesion kinase and paxillin; an intermediate force-transduction layer containing talin and vinculin; and an uppermost actin-regulatory layer containing zyxin, vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein and ?-actinin. By localizing amino- and carboxy-terminally tagged talins, we reveal talin's polarized orientation, indicative of a role in organizing the focal adhesion strata. The composite multilaminar protein architecture provides a molecular blueprint for understanding focal adhesion functions.
Project description:GIV/Girdin is a multimodular signal transducer and a bona fide metastasis-related protein. As a guanidine exchange factor (GEF), GIV modulates signals initiated by growth factors (chemical signals) by activating the G protein G?i. Here we report that mechanical signals triggered by the extracellular matrix (ECM) also converge on GIV-GEF via ?1 integrins and that focal adhesions (FAs) serve as the major hubs for mechanochemical signaling via GIV. GIV interacts with focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and ligand-activated ?1 integrins. Phosphorylation of GIV by FAK enhances PI3K-Akt signaling, the integrity of FAs, increases cell-ECM adhesion, and triggers ECM-induced cell motility. Activation of G?i by GIV-GEF further potentiates FAK-GIV-PI3K-Akt signaling at the FAs. Spatially restricted signaling via tyrosine phosphorylated GIV at the FAs is enhanced during cancer metastasis. Thus GIV-GEF serves as a unifying platform for integration and amplification of adhesion (mechanical) and growth factor (chemical) signals during cancer progression.
Project description:Membrane trafficking via the Golgi-localised KDEL receptor activates signalling cascades that coordinate both trafficking and other cellular functions, including autophagy and extracellular matrix degradation. In this study, we provide evidence that membrane trafficking activates KDEL receptor and the Src family kinases at focal adhesions of HeLa cells, where this phosphorylates ADP-ribosylation factor GTPase-activating protein with SH3 domain, ankyrin repeat and PH domain (ASAP)1 and focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Previous studies have reported extracellular matrix degradation at focal adhesions. Here, matrix degradation was not seen at focal adhesions, although it occurred at invadopodia, where it was increased by KDEL receptor activation. This activation of KDEL receptor at invadopodia of A375 cells promoted recruitment and phosphorylation of FAK on tyrosines 397 and 861. From the functional standpoint, FAK overexpression inhibited steady-state and KDEL-receptor-stimulated extracellular matrix degradation, whereas overexpression of the FAK-Y397F mutant only inhibited KDEL-receptor-stimulated matrix degradation. Finally, we show that the Src and FAK activated downstream of KDEL receptor are part of parallel signalling pathways. In conclusion, membrane-traffic-generated signalling via KDEL receptor activates Src not only at the Golgi complex, but also at focal adhesions. By acting on Src and FAK, KDEL receptor increases invadopodia-mediated matrix degradation.
Project description:Adhesion and detachment are coordinated critical steps during cell migration. Conceptually, efficient migration requires both effective stabilization of membrane protrusions at the leading edge via nascent adhesions and their successful persistence during retraction of the trailing side via disruption of focal adhesions. As nascent adhesions are much smaller in size than focal adhesions, they are expected to exhibit a stronger adhesivity in order to achieve the coordination between cell front and back. Here, we show that Nudel knockdown by interference RNA (RNAi) resulted in cell edge shrinkage due to poor adhesions of membrane protrusions. Nudel bound to paxillin, a scaffold protein of focal contacts, and colocalized with it in areas of active membrane protrusions, presumably at nascent adhesions. The Nudel-paxillin interaction was disrupted by focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in a paxillin-binding-dependent manner. Forced localization of Nudel in all focal contacts by fusing it to paxillin markedly strengthened their adhesivity, whereas overexpression of structurally activated FAK or any paxillin-binding FAK mutant lacking the N-terminal autoinhibitory domain caused cell edge shrinkage. These results suggest a novel mechanism for selective reinforcement of nascent adhesions via interplays of Nudel and FAK with paxillin to facilitate cell migration.
Project description:Integrin-containing focal adhesions transmit extracellular signals across the plasma membrane to modulate cell adhesion, signalling and survival. Although integrins are known to undergo continuous endo/exocytic traffic, the potential impact of endocytic traffic on integrin-induced signals is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that integrin signalling is not restricted to cell-ECM adhesions and identify an endosomal signalling platform that supports integrin signalling away from the plasma membrane. We show that active focal adhesion kinase (FAK), an established marker of integrin-ECM downstream signalling, localizes with active integrins on endosomes. Integrin endocytosis positively regulates adhesion-induced FAK activation, which is early endosome antigen-1 and small GTPase Rab21 dependent. FAK binds directly to purified endosomes and becomes activated on them, suggesting a role for endocytosis in enhancing distinct integrin downstream signalling events. Finally, endosomal integrin signalling contributes to cancer-related processes such as anoikis resistance, anchorage independence and metastasis.
Project description:Mechanosensing at focal adhesions regulates vital cellular processes. Here, we present results from molecular dynamics (MD) and mechano-biochemical network simulations that suggest a direct role of Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) as a mechano-sensor. Tensile forces, propagating from the membrane through the PIP2 binding site of the FERM domain and from the cytoskeleton-anchored FAT domain, activate FAK by unlocking its central phosphorylation site (Tyr576/577) from the autoinhibitory FERM domain. Varying loading rates, pulling directions, and membrane PIP2 concentrations corroborate the specific opening of the FERM-kinase domain interface, due to its remarkably lower mechanical stability compared to the individual alpha-helical domains and the PIP2-FERM link. Analyzing downstream signaling networks provides further evidence for an intrinsic mechano-signaling role of FAK in broadcasting force signals through Ras to the nucleus. This distinguishes FAK from hitherto identified focal adhesion mechano-responsive molecules, allowing a new interpretation of cell stretching experiments.
Project description:Cell migration is initiated in response to biochemical or physical cues in the environment that promote actin-mediated lamellipodial protrusion followed by the formation of nascent integrin adhesions (NAs) within the protrusion to drive leading edge advance. Although FAK is known to be required for cell migration through effects on focal adhesions, its role in NA formation and lamellipodial dynamics is unclear. Live-cell microscopy of FAK(-/-)cells with expression of phosphorylation deficient or a FERM-domain mutant deficient in Arp2/3 binding revealed a requirement for FAK in promoting the dense formation, transient stabilization, and timely turnover of NA within lamellipodia to couple actin-driven protrusion to adhesion and advance of the leading edge. Phosphorylation on Y397 of FAK promotes dense NA formation but is dispensable for transient NA stabilization and leading edge advance. In contrast, transient NA stabilization and advance of the cell edge requires FAK-Arp2/3 interaction, which promotes Arp2/3 localization to NA and reduces FAK activity. Haptosensing of extracellular matrix (ECM) concentration during migration requires the interaction between FAK and Arp2/3, whereas FAK phosphorylation modulates mechanosensing of ECM stiffness during spreading. Taken together, our results show that mechanistically separable functions of FAK in NA are required for cells to distinguish distinct properties of their environment during migration.
Project description:Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) controls adhesion-dependent cell motility, survival, and proliferation. FAK has kinase-dependent and kinase-independent functions, both of which play major roles in embryogenesis and tumor invasiveness. The precise mechanisms of FAK activation are not known. Using x-ray crystallography, small angle x-ray scattering, and biochemical and functional analyses, we show that the key step for activation of FAK's kinase-dependent functions--autophosphorylation of tyrosine-397--requires site-specific dimerization of FAK. The dimers form via the association of the N-terminal FERM domain of FAK and are stabilized by an interaction between FERM and the C-terminal FAT domain. FAT binds to a basic motif on FERM that regulates co-activation and nuclear localization. FAK dimerization requires local enrichment, which occurs specifically at focal adhesions. Paxillin plays a dual role, by recruiting FAK to focal adhesions and by reinforcing the FAT:FERM interaction. Our results provide a structural and mechanistic framework to explain how FAK combines multiple stimuli into a site-specific function. The dimer interfaces we describe are promising targets for blocking FAK activation.
Project description:Cells are mechanosensitive to extracellular matrix (ECM) deformation, which can be caused by muscle contraction or changes in hydrostatic pressure. Focal adhesions (FAs) mediate the linkage between the cell and the ECM and initiate mechanically stimulated signaling events. We developed a stretching apparatus in which cells grown on fibronectin-coated elastic substrates can be stretched and imaged live to study how FAs dynamically respond to ECM deformation. Human bone osteosarcoma epithelial cell line U2OS was transfected with GFP-paxillin as an FA marker and subjected to sustained uniaxial stretching. Two responses at different timescales were observed: rapid FA growth within seconds after stretching, and delayed FA disassembly and loss of cell polarity that occurred over tens of minutes. Rapid FA growth occurred in all cells; however, delayed responses to stretch occurred in an orientation-specific manner, specifically in cells with their long axes perpendicular to the stretching direction, but not in cells with their long axes parallel to stretch. Pharmacological treatments demonstrated that FA kinase (FAK) promotes but Src inhibits rapid FA growth, whereas FAK, Src, and calpain 2 all contribute to delayed FA disassembly and loss of polarity in cells perpendicular to stretching. Immunostaining for phospho-FAK after stretching revealed that FAK activation was maximal at 5 s after stretching, specifically in FAs oriented perpendicular to stretch. We hypothesize that orientation-specific activation of strain/stress-sensitive proteins in FAs upstream to FAK and Src promote orientation-specific responses in FA growth and disassembly that mediate polarity rearrangement in response to sustained stretch.
Project description:Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a key signaling molecule regulating cell adhesion, migration, and survival. FAK localizes into focal adhesion complexes formed at the cytoplasmic side of cell attachment to the ECM and is activated after force generation via actomyosin fibers attached to this complex. The mechanism of translating mechanical force into a biochemical signal is not understood, and it is not clear whether FAK is activated directly by force or downstream to the force signal. We use experimental and computational single-molecule force spectroscopy to probe the mechanical properties of FAK and examine whether force can trigger activation by inducing conformational changes in FAK. By comparison with an open and active mutant of FAK, we are able to assign mechanoactivation to an initial rupture event in the low-force range. This activation event occurs before FAK unfolding at forces within the native range in focal adhesions. We are also able to assign all subsequent peaks in the force landscape to partial unfolding of FAK modules. We show that binding of ATP stabilizes the kinase domain, thereby altering the unfolding hierarchy. Using all-atom molecular dynamics simulations, we identify intermediates along the unfolding pathway, which provide buffering to allow extension of FAK in focal adhesions without compromising functionality. Our findings strongly support that forces in focal adhesions applied to FAK via known interactions can induce conformational changes, which in turn, trigger focal adhesion signaling.