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Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase/Akt Mediates Integrin Signaling To Control RNA Polymerase I Transcriptional Activity

RNA polymerase I-mediated rRNA production is a key determinant of cell growth. Despite extensive studies, the signaling pathways that control RNA polymerase I-mediated rRNA production are not well understood. Here we provide original evidence showing that RNA polymerase I transcriptional activity is tightly controlled by integrin signaling. Furthermore, we show that a signaling axis consisting of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Src, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), Akt, and mTOR mediates the effect of integrin signaling on rRNA transcription. Additionally, we show that in kindlin-2 knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts, overactivation of Ras, Akt, and Src can successfully rescue the defective RNA polymerase I activity induced by the loss of kindlin-2. Finally, through experiments with inhibitors of FAK, Src, and PI3K and rescue experiments in MEFs, we found that the FAK/Src/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway to control rRNA transcription is linear. Collectively, these studies reveal, for the first time, a pivotal role of integrin signaling in regulation of RNA polymerase I transcriptional activity and shed light on the downstream signaling axis that participates in regulation of this key aspect of cell growth.

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