Stretch-induced phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase in endothelial cells: Role of mitochondrial oxidants

Mir H. Ali, Paul T. Mungai, Paul T. Schumacker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Mechanical stretch activates a number of signaling pathways in endothelial cells, and it elicits a variety of functional responses including increases in the phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), a nonreceptor tyrosine kinase involved in integrin-mediated signal transduction. Stretch also triggers an increase in the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which may function as second messengers in the signal transduction cascades that activate cellular responses to strain. Mitochondria represent an important source of ROS in the cell, and these organelles may release ROS in response to strain by virtue of their attachment to cytoskeletal proteins. We therefore tested whether cyclic stretch increases FAK phosphorylation at Tyr397 through a mitochondrial ROS signaling pathway in bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells (BPAEC). Oxidant signaling, measured using 2′7′-dichlorofluorescin (DCFH), increased 152 ± 16% during 1.5 h of cyclic strain relative to unstrained controls. The mitochondrial inhibitors diphenylene iodonium (5 μM) or rotenone (2 μM) attenuated this increase, whereas L-nitroarginine (100 μM), allopurinol (100 μM), or apocynin (30 μM) had no effect. The antioxidants ebselen (5 μM) and dithiodidiethyldithiocarbamate (1 mM) inhibited the strain-induced increase in oxidant signaling, but Hb (5 μM) had no effect. These results indicate that strain induces oxidant release from mitochondria. Treatment with cytochalasin D (5 μM) abrogated strain-induced DCFH oxidation in BPAEC, indicating that actin filaments were required for stretch-induced mitochondrial ROS generation. Cyclic strain increased FAK phosphorylation at Tyr397, but this was abolished by mitochondrial inhibitors as well as by antioxidants. Strain-induced FAK phosphorylation was abrogated by inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC) with Ro-31-8220 or Gö-6976. These findings indicate that mitochondrial oxidants generated in response to endothelial strain trigger FAK phosphorylation through a signaling pathway that involves PKC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L38-L45
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006


  • Cyclic stretch
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Protein kinase C
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Stretch-induced phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase in endothelial cells: Role of mitochondrial oxidants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this