Functions of the FAK family kinases in T cells: beyond actin cytoskeletal rearrangement

Immunol Res. 2014 Aug;59(1-3):23-34. doi: 10.1007/s12026-014-8527-y.


T cells control the focus and extent of adaptive immunity in infectious and pathological diseases. The activation of T cells occurs when the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) and costimulatory and/or adhesion receptors are engaged by their ligands. This process drives signaling that promotes cytoskeletal rearrangement and transcription factor activation, both of which regulate the quality and magnitude of the T cell response. However, it is not fully understood how different receptor-induced signals combine to alter T cell activation. The related non-receptor tyrosine kinases focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (Pyk2) are phosphorylated downstream of the TCR and several costimulatory and adhesion receptors. FAK family proteins integrate receptor-mediated signals that influence actin cytoskeletal rearrangement and effector T cell responses. In this review, we summarize the receptor-specific roles that FAK and Pyk2 control to influence T cell development and activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1 / immunology*
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 2 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation / physiology*
  • Portraits as Topic
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 2
  • PTK2 protein, human