Zang G, Christoffersson G, Tian G, Harun-Or-Rashid M, Vågesjö E, Phillipson M, Barg S, Tengholm A, Welsh M
Cell. Signal. 25 (1) 85-92 [2013-01-00; online 2012-09-18]
Vascular permeability is a hallmark response to the main angiogenic factor VEGF-A and we have previously described a reduction of this response in Shb knockout mice. To characterize the molecular mechanisms responsible for this effect, endothelial cells were isolated from lungs and analyzed in vitro. Shb deficient endothelial cells exhibited less migration in a scratch wound-healing assay both under basal conditions and after vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) stimulation, suggesting a functional impairment of these cells in vitro. Staining for VE-cadherin and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) showed co-localization in adherens junctions and in intracellular sites such as the perinuclear region in wild-type and Shb knockout cells. VEGF-A decreased the VE-cadherin/VEGFR-2 co-localization in membrane structures resembling adherens junctions in wild-type cells whereas no such response was noted in the Shb knockout cells. VE-cadherin/VEGFR-2 co-localization was also recorded using spinning-disk confocal microscopy and VEGF-A caused a reduced association in the wild-type cells whereas the opposite pattern was observed in the Shb knockout cells. The latter expressed slightly more of cell surface VEGFR-2. VEGF-A stimulated extracellular-signal regulated kinase, Akt and Rac1 activities in the wild-type cells whereas no such responses were noted in the knockout cells. We conclude that aberrant signaling characteristics with respect to ERK, Akt and Rac1 are likely explanations for the observed altered pattern of VE-cadherin/VEGFR-2 association. The latter is important for understanding the reduced in vivo vascular permeability response in Shb knockout mice, a phenomenon that has patho-physiological relevance.