Phosphotyrosine-containing proteins were immunoprecipitated from embryonic chicken tissue extracts using anti-phosphotyrosine antibody coupled to agarose beads. Major phosphotyrosine-containing proteins of 110, 70, and 50 kD were observed following blotting with anti-phosphotyrosine antibody. The 70-kD band was selectively removed from the samples by precipitation with antibodies to the focal adhesion protein paxillin, therefore identifying paxillin as one of the major tyrosine kinase substrates during chick embryonic organogenesis. The tyrosine phosphorylation of paxillin is regulated developmentally: during embryogenesis, a marked decrease in its phosphotyrosine content was observed, although the total level of paxillin remained essentially constant. Approximately 20% of the paxillin was phosphorylated on tyrosine in the early embryo. In contrast, tyrosine phosphorylation of paxillin was undetectable in the adult. A similar profile of phosphotyrosine-containing proteins was identified in rat embryos. Paxillin was also found to be a major phosphotyrosine-containing protein in the rat embryo. These data suggest that the regulated phosphorylation of tyrosine residues on paxillin may perform a critical role in controlling cell and tissue cytoarchitecture rearrangement during vertebrate development.

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