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FAK: Dynamic integration of guidance signals at the growth cone

AuthorsChacón, Mariola R.; Fazzari, Pietro
Issue Date2011
PublisherLandes Bioscience
CitationCell Adhesion and Migration 5(1): 52-55 (2011)
AbstractDuring the formation of neural circuitry, axons are known to be guided to their specific targets by a relatively small arsenal of guidance signals. However, the molecular integration of this guidance information inside the axonal growth cone (GC) is still baffling. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a cytosolic kinase which interacts with a complex molecular network via multiple phosphorylation sites. Paradoxically, FAK activation is required by both attractive and repulsive cues to control respectively axon outgrowth and disassembly of adhesive structures together with cytoskeletal dynamics. It was suggested that FAK might work as a versatile molecular integrator switching to different functions depending on its activation state. Two studies published recently by our group and Woo et al. shed light on this issue: for the first time, these works report a detailed molecular analysis of FAK activation and phosphorylation pattern in primary neuronal cultures in response to the repulsive cues Semaphorin3A and ephrinA1 respectively. Here we comment on the major novelties provided by these papers in the context of previous literature and we speculate on the future avenues of investigation opened by these works. © 2011 Landes Bioscience.
Identifiersdoi: 10.4161/cam.5.1.13681
issn: 1933-6918
e-issn: 1933-6926
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