Focal Adhesion Kinase Versus p53: Apoptosis or Survival?

Science Signaling  20 May 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 20, pp. pe22
DOI: 10.1126/stke.120pe22

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Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is a tyrosine kinase that interacts with a multitude of signaling partners and helps cells to survive in the face of various proapoptotic signals. One of the most important interactions for FAK is with the tumor suppressor protein p53. p53 binds not only to the amino-terminal domain of FAK but also to the FAK promoter to inhibit its transcription. A study now reports the biological implications of the kinase-independent interaction of FAK with p53, which opens up future perspectives in cell signaling and cancer research. We focus on FAK and p53 signaling, which link signal transduction pathways from the extracellular matrix and cytoplasm to the nucleus, in human and mouse cells. FAK is proposed to be a critical scaffold protein that sequesters proapoptotic proteins, such as p53, to mediate cell survival.

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