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In-situ coupling between kinase activities and protein dynamics within single focal adhesions

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The dynamic activation of oncogenic kinases and regulation of focal adhesions (FAs) are crucial molecular events modulating cell adhesion in cancer metastasis. However, it remains unclear how these events are temporally coordinated at single FA sites. Therefore, we targeted fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based biosensors toward subcellular FAs to report local molecular events during cancer cell adhesion. Employing single FA tracking and cross-correlation analysis, we quantified the dynamic coupling characteristics between biochemical kinase activities and structural FA within single FAs. We show that kinase activations and FA assembly are strongly and sequentially correlated, with the concurrent FA assembly and Src activation leading focal adhesion kinase (FAK) activation by 42.6 ± 12.6 sec. Strikingly, the temporal coupling between kinase activation and individual FA assembly reflects the fate of FAs at later stages. The FAs with a tight coupling tend to grow and mature, while the less coupled FAs likely disassemble. During FA disassembly, however, kinase activations lead the disassembly, with FAK being activated earlier than Src. Therefore, by integrating subcellularly targeted FRET biosensors and computational analysis, our study reveals intricate interplays between Src and FAK in regulating the dynamic life of single FAs in cancer cells.

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