Intracellular signaling pathways activated by both PDGF and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) have been implicated in the migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), a key step in the pathogenesis of many vascular diseases. We demonstrate here that, while bFGF is a weak chemoattractant for VSMCs, it is required for the PDGF-directed migration of VSMCs and the activation of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CamKinase II), an intracellular event that we have previously shown to be important in the regulation of VSMC migration. Neutralizing antibodies to bFGF caused a dramatic reduction in the size of the intracellular calcium transient normally seen after PDGF stimulation and inhibited both PDGF-directed VSMC migration and CamKinase II activation. Partially restoring the calcium transient with ionomycin restored migration and CamKinase II activation as did the forced expression of a mutant CamKinase II that had been "locked" in the active state by site-directed mutagenesis. These results suggest that bFGF links PDGF receptor stimulation to changes in intracellular calcium and CamKinase II activation, reinforcing the central role played by CamKinase II in regulating VSMC migration.
C Bilato, R R Pauly, G Melillo, R Monticone, D Gorelick-Feldman, Y A Gluzband, S J Sollott, B Ziman, E G Lakatta, M T Crow