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Caspase-mediated Cleavage of Focal Adhesion Kinase pp125FAK and Disassembly of Focal Adhesions in Human Endothelial Cell Apoptosis

By Bodo Levkau, Barbara Herren, Hidenori Koyama, Russell Ross and Elaine W. Raines

Abstract

Normal endothelial and epithelial cells undergo apoptosis when cell adhesion and spreading are prevented, implying a requirement for antiapoptotic signals from the extracellular matrix for cell survival. We investigated some of the molecular changes occurring in focal adhesions during growth factor deprivation–induced apoptosis in confluent monolayers of human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Among the first morphologic changes after initiation of the apoptotic process are membrane blebbing, loss of focal adhesion sites, and retraction from the matrix followed by detachment. We observe a specific proteolytic cleavage of focal adhesion kinase (pp125FAK), an important component of the focal adhesion complex, and identify pp125FAK as a novel substrate for caspase-3 and caspase-3–like apoptotic caspases. The initial cleavage precedes detachment, and coincides with loss of pp125FAK and paxillin from focal adhesion sites and their redistribution into the characteristic membrane blebs of apoptotically dying cells. Cleavage of pp125FAK differentially affects its association with signaling and cytoskeletal components of the focal adhesion complex; binding of paxillin, but not pp130Cas (Cas, Crk-associated substrate) and vinculin, to the COOH terminally truncated pp125FAK is abolished. Therefore, caspase-mediated cleavage of pp125FAK may be participating in the disassembly of the focal adhesion complex and actively interrupting survival signals from the extracellular matrix, thus propagating the cell death program

Topics: Article
Publisher: The Rockefeller University Press
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:2212148
Provided by: PubMed Central
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