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Integrin-linked kinase functions as a downstream signal of platelet-derived growth factor to regulate actin polymerization and vascular smooth muscle cell migration

Mitra Esfandiarei1*, Sahar Abdoli Yazdi1, Virginia Gray2, Shoukat Dedhar2 and Cornelis van Breemen1

Author Affiliations

1 Child & Family Research Institute, Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology, and Therapeutics, University of British Columbia, 950 West 28th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 4H4, Canada

2 Department of Cancer Genetics, British Columbia Cancer Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 675 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1L3, Canada

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BMC Cell Biology 2010, 11:16  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-11-16

Published: 23 February 2010



Vascular smooth muscle cell migration and accumulation in response to growth factors extensively contribute to the development of intimal thickening within the vessel wall. Cumulative evidence has shown that actin cytoskeleton polymerization and rearrangement are critical steps during cellular spreading and migration. Integrin-linked kinase, an intracellular serine/threonine kinase, is a cytoplasmic interactor of integrin beta-1 and beta-3 receptors regulating cell-cell and/or cell-extracellular matrix interaction, cell contraction, extracellular matrix modification, and cell spreading and migration in response to various stimuli. However, the regulatory role of ILK during vascular smooth muscle cell migration and the importance of integrin signaling in occlusive vascular diseases are not yet fully elucidated.


In the present study, we report that integrin-linked kinase controls mouse aortic smooth muscle cell migration in response to platelet-derived growth factor. We have also identified p38 mitogen activated protein kinase as a downstream signaling pathway of the integrin-linked kinase that regulates platelet-derived growth factor-induced actin polymerization and smooth muscle cell migration.


This study will provide new insights into the potential therapeutic value of modulating integrin signaling in an attempt to block or delay smooth muscle cell migration and the progression of vascular diseases.