alpha(5)beta(1) Integrin interacts with the PHSRN sequence of plasma fibronectin, causing constitutive invasion by human prostate cancer cells. Inhibition of this process reduces tumorigenesis and prevents metastasis and recurrence. In this study, naturally serum-free basement membranes were used as in vitro invasion substrates. Immunoassays were employed to dissect the roles of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase (PI3K), and protein kinase Cdelta (PKC delta) in alpha(5)beta(1)-mediated, matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1)-dependent invasion by metastatic human DU 145 prostate cancer cells. We found that a peptide composed of the PHSRN sequence induced rapid FAK phosphorylation at Tyr(397) (Y397), a site whose phosphorylation is associated with kinase activation. The technique of RNA silencing [small interfering RNA (siRNA)] confirmed the role of FAK in PHSRN-induced invasion. PHSRN also induced the association of the p85-regulatory subunit of PI3K with FAK at a time corresponding to FAK phosphorylation and activation, and maximal PI3K activity occurred at this same time. The necessity of PI3K activity in both PHSRN-induced invasion and MMP-1 expression was confirmed by using specific PI3K inhibitors. By employing a specific inhibitor, Rottlerin, and by using siRNA, we also found that PKC delta, a PI3K substrate found in focal adhesions, functions in PHSRN-induced invasion. In addition, the induction of MMP-1 in PHSRN-treated DU 145 cells was shown by immunoblotting, and the role of MMP-1 in PHSRN-induced invasion was confirmed by the use of blocking anti-MMP-1 monoclonal antibody. Finally, a close temporal correspondence was observed between PHSRN-induced invasion and PHSRN-induced MMP-1 activity in DU 145 cells.