Identification of Mechanisms Regulating Endothelial Cell Capillary Morphogenesis

Title: Identification of Mechanisms Regulating Endothelial Cell Capillary Morphogenesis
Authors: Howe, Grant Alexander
Date: 2013
Abstract: In order to effectively treat disorders whose pathology is marked by neovascularization, a better understanding of the pathways that mediate the processes involved in angiogenesis is needed. To this end we have identified two important pathways that regulate endothelial cell capillary morphogenesis, a key process in angiogenesis. We have identified the small GTPase RhoB as being induced by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Depletion of RhoB inhibited endothelial cell VEGF - mediated migration, sprouting, and cord formation. Cells depleted of RhoB showed a marked increase in RhoA activation in response to VEGF. Defects in cord formation in RhoB - depleted cells could be partially restored through treatment with the Rho inhibitor C3 transferase or ROCK I/II inhibitors, indicating increased RhoA activity and enhanced downstream signaling from RhoA contribute to the phenotype of decreased cord formation observed in cells depleted of RhoB. Interestingly, we did not observe a significant change in RhoC activity in RhoB - depleted cells suggesting differential regulation of RhoA and RhoC by RhoB in HUVECs. We have also identified microRNA - 30b (miR - 30b) as being negatively regulated by VEGF and as being a negative regulator of HUVEC capillary morphogenesis. Overexpression of miR - 30b significantly reduced HUVEC cord formation in vitro, while inhibition of miR - 30b enhanced cord formation. Neither overexpression nor inhibition of miR - 30b affected migration or viability of endothelial cells. Interestingly, miR - 30b regulated the expression of TGFβ2 but not TGFβ1, with overexpression of miR - 30b inducing expression of TGFβ2 mRNA and protein, and inducing phosphorylaton of Smad2 , suggesting TGFβ2 produced in response to miR - 30b overexpression functions in an iii autocrine manner to stimulate HUVECs . MiR - 30b effects on TGFβ2 expression were found to be regulated to an extent by ATF2, as miR - 30b overexpressing cells exhibited increased levels of phosphorylated ATF2 , with depletion of ATF2 via siRNA resulting in inhibition of miR - 30b - induced TGFβ2 expression. Treatment of HUVECs with TGFβ2 inhibited cord formation, while TGFβ1 had no effect, indicating a major difference in how endothelial cells respond to these two related growth factors. Inhibition of TGFβ2 with a neutralizing antibody restored cord formation in miR - 30b overexpressing cells to levels similar to control cells, thus identifying TGFβ2 expression as contributing to the inhibitory effects of miR - 30b overexpression on capillary morphogenesis. Thus, we have identified two signaling pathways regulated by VEGF in HUVECs that further our understanding of the process of angiogenesis and may provide novel targets for therapeutic intervention into diseases involving angiogenesis.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -