Regulation of the PHAS-1-eukaryotic initiation factor-4E (eIF4E) complex is the rate-limiting step in the initiation of protein synthesis. This study characterized the upstream signaling pathways that mediate ANG II-dependent phosphorylation of PHAS-1 and eIF4E in vascular smooth muscle. ANG II-dependent PHAS-1 phosphorylation was maximal at 10 min (2.47 +/- 0.3 fold vs. control). This effect was completely blocked by the specific inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase, LY-294002), mammalian target of rapamycin, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2, U-0126) or by a recombinant adenovirus encoding dominant-negative Akt. PHAS-1 phosphorylation was followed by dissociation of eIF4E. Increased ANG II-induced eIF4E phosphorylation was observed at 45 min (2.63 +/- 0.5 fold vs. control), was maximal at 90 min (3.38 +/- 0.3 fold vs. control), and was sustained at 2 h. This effect was blocked by inhibitors of the ERK1/2 and p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathways, but not by PI3-kinase inhibition, and was dependent on PKC, intracellular Ca2+, and tyrosine kinases. Downregulation of proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (PYK2) by antisense oligonucleotides led to a near-complete inhibition of PHAS-1 and eIF4E phosphorylation in response to ANG II. Therefore, PYK2 represents a proximal signaling intermediate that regulates ANG II-induced vascular smooth muscle cell protein synthesis via regulation of the PHAS-1-eIF4E complex.