FAK potentiates Rac1 activation and localization to matrix adhesion sites: A role for βPIX

Fumin Chang, Christopher A. Lemmon, Dongeun Park, Lewis H. Romer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


FAK, a cytoplasmic protein tyrosine kinase, is activated and localized to focal adhesions upon cell attachment to extracellular matrix. FAK null cells spread poorly and exhibit altered focal adhesion turnover. Rac1 is a member of the Rho-family GTPases that promotes membrane ruffling, leading edge extension, and cell spreading. We investigated the activation and subcellular location of Rac1 in FAK null and FAK reexpressing fibroblasts. FAK reexpressers had a more robust pattern of Rac1 activation after cell adhesion to fibronectin than the FAK null cells. Translocation of Rac1 to focal adhesions was observed in FAK reexpressers, but seldom in FAK null cells. Experiments with constitutively active L61Rac1 and dominant negative N17Rac1 indicated that the activation state of Rac1 regulated its localization to focal adhesions. We demonstrated that FAK tyrosine-phosphorylated βPIX and thereby increased its binding to Rac1. In addition, βPIX facilitated the targeting of activated Rac1 to focal adhesions and the efficiency of cell spreading. These data indicate that FAK has a role in the activation and focal adhesion translocation of Rac1 through the tyrosine phosphorylation of βPIX.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-264
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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