ARTICLE ABSTRACTExpression of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in endothelial cells (EC) is essential for angiogenesis, but how FAK phosphorylation at tyrosine-(Y)397 and Y861 regulate tumor angiogenesis in vivo is unknown. Here, we show that tumor growth and angiogenesis are constitutively reduced in inducible, ECCre+;FAKY397F/Y397F–mutant mice. Conversely, ECCre+;FAKY861F/Y861F mice exhibit normal tumor growth with an initial reduction in angiogenesis that recovered in end-stage tumors. Mechanistically, FAK-Y397F ECs exhibit increased Tie2 expression, reduced Vegfr2 expression, decreased β1 integrin activation, and disrupted downstream FAK/Src/PI3K(p55)/Akt signaling. In contrast, FAK-Y861F ECs showed decreased Vegfr2 and Tie2 expression with an enhancement in β1 integrin activation. This corresponds with a decrease in Vegfa–stimulated response, but an increase in Vegfa+Ang2- or conditioned medium from tumor cell–stimulated cellular/angiogenic responses, mimicking responses in end-stage tumors with elevated Ang2 levels. Mechanistically, FAK-Y861F, but not FAK-Y397F ECs showed enhanced p190RhoGEF/P130Cas-dependent signaling that is required for the elevated responses to Vegfa+Ang2. This study establishes the differential requirements of EC-FAK-Y397 and EC-FAK-Y861 phosphorylation in the regulation of EC signaling and tumor angiogenesis in vivo.
Distinct motifs of the focal adhesion kinase differentially regulate tumor blood vessel formation and remodeling.