We have demonstrated that growth hormone (GH) activates focal adhesion kinase (FAK), and this activation results in the tyrosine phosphorylation of two FAK substrates, paxillin and tensin. The activation of FAK is time-dependent (maximal activation at 5-15 min) and dose-dependent (maximal activation at 0.05 nM). FAK and paxillin are constitutively associated in the unstimulated state, remain associated during the stimulation phase, and recruit tyrosine-phosphorylated tensin to the complex after GH stimulation. Half of the carboxyl-terminal region of the GH receptor is dispensable for FAK activation, but FAK activation does require the proline-rich box 1 region of the GH receptor, indicative that FAK is downstream of JAK2. FAK associates with JAK2 but not JAK1 after GH stimulation of cells. Using FAK-replete and FAK-deficient cells, we also show that FAK is not required for STAT-mediated transcriptional activation by GH. The use of FAK in the signal transduction pathway utilized by GH may be central to many of the pleiotropic effects of GH, including cytoskeletal reorganization, cell migration, chemotaxis, mitogenesis, and/or prevention of apoptosis and gene transcription.
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