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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cross-correlated fluctuation analysis reveals phosphorylation-regulated paxillin-fak complexes in nascent adhesions

  • Author(s): Choi, CK
  • Zareno, J
  • Digman, MA
  • Gratton, E
  • Horwitz, AR
  • et al.

We used correlation methods to detect and quantify interactions between paxillin and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in migrating cells. Cross-correlation raster-scan image correlation spectroscopy revealed that wild-type paxillin and the phosphorylation-inhibiting paxillin mutant Y31F-Y118F do not interact with FAK in the cytosol but a phosphomimetic mutant of paxillin, Y31E-Y118E, does. By extending cross-correlation number and brightness analysis to the total internal reflection fluorescence modality, we were able to show that tetramers of paxillin and FAK form complexes in nascent adhesions with a 1:1 stoichiometry ratio. The phosphomimetic mutations on paxillin increase the size of the complex and the assembly rate of nascent adhesions, suggesting that the physical molecular aggregation of paxillin and FAK regulates adhesion formation. In contrast, when phosphorylation is inhibited, the interaction decreases and the adhesions tend to elongate rather than turn over. These direct in vivo data show that the phosphorylation of paxillin is specific to adhesions and leads to localized complex formation with FAK to regulate the dynamics of nascent adhesions. © 2011 by the Biophysical Society.

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