Publication — IRIC
Beta-arrestins operate an on/off control switch for focal adhesion kinase activity.
Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) regulates key biological processes downstream of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in normal and cancer cells, but the modes of kinase activation by these receptors remain unclear. We report that after GPCR stimulation, FAK activation is controlled by a sequence of events depending on the scaffolding proteins β-arrestins and G proteins. Depletion of β-arrestins results in a marked increase in FAK autophosphorylation and focal adhesion number. We demonstrate that β-arrestins interact directly with FAK and inhibit its autophosphorylation in resting cells. Both FAK-β-arrestin interaction and FAK inhibition require the FERM domain of FAK. Following the stimulation of the angiotensin receptor AT1AR and subsequent translocation of the FAK-β-arrestin complex to the plasma membrane, β-arrestin interaction with the adaptor AP-2 releases inactive FAK from the inhibitory complex, allowing its activation by receptor-stimulated G proteins and activation of downstream FAK effectors. Release and activation of FAK in response to angiotensin are prevented by an AP-2-binding deficient β-arrestin and by a specific inhibitor of β-arrestin/AP-2 interaction; this inhibitor also prevents FAK activation in response to vasopressin. This previously unrecognized mechanism of FAK regulation involving a dual role of β-arrestins, which inhibit FAK in resting cells while driving its activation at the plasma membrane by GPCR-stimulated G proteins, opens new potential therapeutic perspectives in cancers with up-regulated FAK.