Restitution of intestinal epithelial barrier damage involves the coordinated remodeling of focal adhesions in actively migrating enterocytes. Defining the extracellular mediators and the intracellular signaling pathways regulating those dynamic processes is a key step in developing restitution-targeted therapies. Previously we have determined that activation of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 by the cognate ligand CXCL12 enhances intestinal epithelial restitution through reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton. The aim of these studies was to investigate the role of calcium effectors in CXCL12-mediated restitution. CXCL12 stimulated release of intracellular calcium in a dose-dependent manner. Inhibition of intracellular calcium flux impaired CXCL12-mediated migration of IEC-6 and CaCo2 cells. Pharmacological blockade and specific shRNA depletion of the phospholipase-C (PLCβ3) isoform attenuated CXCL12-enhanced migration, linking receptor activation with intracellular calcium flux. Immunoblot analyses demonstrated CXCL12 activated the calcium-regulated focal adhesion protein proline-rich tyrosine kinase-2 (Pyk2) and the effector proteins paxillin and p130Cas. Interruption of Pyk2 signaling potently blocked CXCL12-induced wound closure. CXCL12-stimulated epithelial cell migration was enhanced on laminin and abrogated by intracellular calcium chelation. These results suggest CXCL12 regulates restitution through calcium-activated Pyk2 localized to active focal adhesions. Calcium signaling pathways may therefore provide a novel avenue for enhancing barrier repair
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