p14ARF interacts with the focal adhesion kinase and protects cells from anoikis

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The ARF protein functions as an important sensor of hyper-proliferative stimuli restricting cell proliferation through both p53-dependent and -independent pathways. Although to date the majority of studies on ARF have focused on its anti-proliferative role, few studies have addressed whether ARF may also have pro-survival functions. Here we show for the first time that during the process of adhesion and spreading ARF re-localizes to sites of active actin polymerization and to focal adhesion points where it interacts with the phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase. In line with its recruitment to focal adhesions, we observe that hampering ARF function in cancer cells leads to gross defects in cytoskeleton organization resulting in apoptosis through a mechanism dependent on the Death-Associated Protein Kinase. Our data uncover a novel function for p14ARF in protecting cells from anoikis that may reflect its role in anchorage independence, a hallmark of malignant tumor cells.

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