Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a highly conserved, cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase that has been implicated in promoting cell migration and transmission of antiapoptotic signals in vertebrate cells. In cultured cells, integrin engagement with the extracellular matrix promotes the recruitment of FAK to focal contacts and increases in its phosphotyrosine content and kinase activity, suggesting FAK is an intracellular mediator of integrin signaling. We have identified a Drosophila FAK homolog, DFak56, that is 33% identical to vertebrate FAK, with the highest degree of homology in domains critical for FAK function, including the kinase and focal adhesion targeting domains, and several protein–protein interaction motifs. Furthermore, when expressed in NIH 3T3 cells, DFak56 both localizes to focal contacts and displays the characteristic elevation of phosphotyrosine content in response to plating the cells on fibronectin. During embryogenesis, DFak56 is broadly expressed, and it becomes elevated in the gut and central nervous system at later stages. Consistent with a role in cell migration, we also observe that DFak56 is abundant in the border cells of developing egg chambers before the onset of, and during, their migration
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