Tyrosine Phosphorylation of Focal Adhesion Kinase (p125FAK): Regulation by cAMP and Thrombin in Mesangial Cells

Dean A. Troyer, A. Bouton, R. Bedolla, Robert Padilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Stress fibers, composed of actin filaments, converge upon and associate with a number of proteins, including focal adhesion kinase (p125FAK), and integrin receptors to form areas of close contact between cells and the extracellular matrix referred to as focal adhesions. Treatment of mesangial cells with cAMP-elevating agents causes a loss of focal adhesions, fragmentation of stress fibers, and decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of p125FAK. Thrombin reverses these effects of cAMP, and this model can be used to address some of the cellular mechanisms involved in regulating the loss and formation of focal adhesions. This study reports the effects of cAMP and thrombin on mesangial cell shape, distribution of actin, formation of stress fibers, and tyrosine phosphorylation of p125FAK. cAMP-treated cells display a condensed cell body with slender processes that traverse the area formerly covered by the cell. Addition of thrombin to these cells restores actin filaments (stress fibers) and increases tyrosine phosphorylation of p125FAK, and the cells resume a flattened morphology, even in the continued presence of cAMP-elevating agents. Peptides that mimic the tethered ligand portion of the thrombin receptor have the same effects on cell morphology and stress fiber formation as thrombin. In selected experiments, agents that disrupt either stress fibers (cytochalasin D) or microtubules (nocodazole; Sigma Chemical, St. Louis, MO) were used to examine the role of these cytoskeletal elements in thrombin-induced restoration of focal adhesions. Cytochalasin D blocked the ability of thrombin to restore focal adhesions and phosphorylate p125FAK The effects of nocodazole, an agent that destabilizes microtubules (but which has no known receptor), are very similar to those of thrombin. The findings discussed in this study indicate that thrombin can modulate the formation of focal adhesions. The organization of stress fibers and microtubules is apparently intimately related to the phosphorylation of p125FAK and can be modulated by soluble receptor agonists such as thrombin or via altered polymerization of microtubules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-423
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell shape
  • Focal adhesion kinase
  • Mesangial cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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