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The nonreceptor tyrosine kinase PYK2 represents a stress-sensitive mediator of c-Jun N-terminal kinase and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways in many cell types. In the present study, we assessed the tyrosine phosphorylation of PYK2 under normal and pathological conditions in the CNS. We generated a polyclonal antibody that selectively recognizes tyrosine-phosphorylated PYK2 at its major autophosphorylation site. By using this antibody, we demonstrate that the phosphorylation profile of PYK2 after focal cerebral ischemia is biphasic. The first phase occurs within 1 hr, when most of the phospho-PYK2 immunoreactivity was observed in cortical neurons, whereas 24-72 hr after ischemia, a striking induction of phospho-PYK2 immunoreactivity was evident in microglia around the necrotic infarcted area. Double-immunostaining analysis using both anti-phospho-PYK2 antibody and antibody against the double-phosphorylated active form of p38MAPK revealed that the two phosphorylated protein kinases exhibit strikingly similar distribution patterns after ischemia. A short time after ischemia, phosphorylation of p38MAPK was evident in the cortical neurons as demonstrated by both immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting analysis, whereas 24-72 hr after ischemia, phospho-p38MAPK was found in activated microglia and colocalized with phospho-PYK2. In contrast to cortical neurons, basal phospho-PYK2 immunoreactivity was observed in hippocampal pyramidal neurons, which was markedly decreased after kainate acid-induced status epilepticus. However, 24 hr after the epileptic onset, a pronounced upregulation of PYK2 and phospho-PYK2 immunoreactivities was evident in microglial cells, as demonstrated by double-immunostaining with the microglial marker OX42. These results provide, for the first time, in situ localization of tyrosine-phosphorylated PYK2 in neuronal stress pathways in the adult rat brain and are consistent with the role of PYK2 as an upstream regulator of p38MAPK signaling cascades in response to stress signals.


Tian, DH;  Litvak, V;  Lev, S

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