A core human primary tumor angiogenesis signature identifies the endothelial orphan receptor ELTD1 as a key regulator of angiogenesis.
ABSTRACT: Limited clinical benefits derived from anti-VEGF therapy have driven the identification of new targets involved in tumor angiogenesis. Here, we report an integrative meta-analysis to define the transcriptional program underlying angiogenesis in human cancer. This approach identified ELTD1, an orphan G-protein-coupled receptor whose expression is induced by VEGF/bFGF and repressed by DLL4 signaling. Extensive analysis of multiple cancer types demonstrates significant upregulation of ELTD1 in tumor-associated endothelial cells, with a higher expression correlating with favorable prognosis. Importantly, ELTD1 silencing impairs endothelial sprouting and vessel formation in vitro and in vivo, drastically reducing tumor growth and greatly improving survival. Collectively, these results provide insight into the regulation of tumor angiogenesis and highlight ELTD1 as key player in blood vessel formation.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Patients with metastatic renal cell cancer (mRCC) are commonly treated with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib, which blocks signalling from vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) - and platelet-derived growth factor-receptors, inhibiting development of new blood vessels. There are currently no predictive markers available to select patients who will gain from this treatment. Epidermal growth factor, latrophilin and seven transmembrane domain-containing protein 1 (ELTD1) is up-regulated in tumor endothelial cells in many types of cancer and may be a putative predictive biomarker due to its association with ongoing angiogenesis. METHODS:ELTD1, CD34 and VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) expressions were analysed in tumor vessels of renal cancer tissues from 139 patients with mRCC using immunohistochemistry. Ninety-nine patients were treated with sunitinib as the first or second-line therapy. Early toxicity, leading to the termination of the treatment, eliminated 22 patients from the analyses. The remaining (n?=?77) patients were included in the current study. In an additional analysis, 53 sorafenib treated patients were evaluated. RESULTS:Patients with high ELTD1 expression in the tumor vasculature experienced a significantly better progression free survival (PFS) with sunitinib treatment as compared to patients with low ELTD1 expression (8 versus 5.5?months, respectively). The expression level of CD34 and VEGFR2 showed no correlation to sunitinib response. In sorafenib treated patients, no association with ELTD1 expression and PFS/OS was found. CONCLUSIONS:Our results identify tumor vessel ELTD1 expression as a positive predictive marker for sunitinib-treatment in patients suffering from mRCC. The negative results in the sorafenib treated group supports ELTD1 being a pure predictive and not a prognostic marker for sunitinib therapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Our laboratory identified ADGRL4/ELTD1, an orphan GPCR belonging to the adhesion GPCR (aGPCR) family, as a novel regulator of angiogenesis and a potential anti-cancer therapeutic target. Little is known about how ADGRL4/ELTD1 (and aGPCRs in general) function, a problem compounded by a lack of known ligands or means of activation. With this in mind, we turned to computational evolutionary biology with the aim of better understanding ADGRL4/ELTD1. RESULTS:We identified ADGRL4/ELTD1 as a highly conserved early angiogenic gene which emerged in the first true vertebrates (bony fish) approximately 435 million years ago (mya), evolving alongside key angiogenic genes VEGFR2 and DLL4. We identified 3 evolutionary ADGRL4/ELTD1 variants based on EGF domain deletions with variant 2 first emerging 101 mya (95% CI 96-105) in Afrotheria and 82 mya (95% CI 76-89) in Primates. Additionally, conservation mapping across all orthologues reveals highest level conservation in EGF Ca binding domain 1, suggesting that this motif plays an essential role, as well as specific regions of the GAIN domain, GPS motif and 7TM domain, suggesting possible activation mechanisms and ligand binding positions. Additionally, we found that ADGRL4/ELTD1 (a member aGPCR family 1) is possibly ancestral to members of aGPCR family 2. CONCLUSION:This work establishes ADGRL4/ELTD1's evolution, sheds light on its possible activation and ligand binding zones, and establishes the first temporal references for the emergence of ADGRL4/ELTD1 variants during vertebrate evolution. Our approach is applicable to the greater aGPCR family and opens up new avenues for future experimental work.
Project description:Adhesion G Protein-Coupled Receptor L4 (ADGRL4/ELTD1) is an endothelial cell adhesion G protein-coupled receptor (aGPCR) which regulates physiological and tumour angiogenesis, providing an attractive target for anti-cancer therapeutics. To date, ADGRL4/ELTD1's full role and mechanism of function within endothelial biology remains unknown, as do its ligand(s). In this study, ADGRL4/ELTD1 silencing, using two independent small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), was performed in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECS) followed by transcriptional profiling, target gene validation, and metabolomics using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry in order to better characterise ADGRL4/ELTD1's role in endothelial cell biology. We show that ADGRL4/ELTD1 silencing induced expression of the cytoplasmic metabolic regulator ATP Citrate Lyase (ACLY) and the mitochondria-to-cytoplasm citrate transporter Solute Carrier Family 25 Member 1 (SLC25A1) but had no apparent effect on pathways downstream of ACLY (fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis or acetylation). Silencing induced KIT expression and affected the Notch signalling pathway, upregulating Delta Like Canonical Notch Ligand 4 (DLL4) and suppressing Jagged Canonical Notch Ligand 1 (JAG1) and Hes Family BHLH Transcription Factor 2 (HES2). The effect of ADGRL4/ELTD1 silencing on the cellular metabolic profile was modest but several metabolites were significantly affected. Cis-aconitic acid, uridine diphosphate (UDP)-glucoronate, fructose 2,6-diphosphate, uridine 5-diphosphate, and aspartic acid were all elevated as a result of silencing and phosphocreatine, N-acetylglutamic acid, taurine, deoxyadenosine triphosphate, and cytidine monophosphate were depleted. Metabolic pathway analysis implicated ADGRL4/ELTD1 in pyrimidine, amino acid, and sugar metabolism. In summary, this study shows that ADGRL4/ELTD1 impacts core components of endothelial metabolism and regulates genes involved in endothelial differentiation/homeostasis and Notch signalling.
Project description:Angiogenesis is coordinated by VEGF and Notch signaling. DLL4-induced Notch signaling inhibits tip cell formation and vessel branching. To ensure proper Notch signaling, receptors and ligands are clustered at adherens junctions. However, little is known about factors that control Notch activity by influencing the cellular localization of Notch ligands. Here, we show that the multiple PDZ domain protein (MPDZ) enhances Notch signaling activity. MPDZ physically interacts with the intracellular carboxyterminus of DLL1 and DLL4 and enables their interaction with the adherens junction protein Nectin-2. Inactivation of the MPDZ gene leads to impaired Notch signaling activity and increased blood vessel sprouting in cellular models and the embryonic mouse hindbrain. Tumor angiogenesis was enhanced upon endothelial-specific inactivation of MPDZ leading to an excessively branched and poorly functional vessel network resulting in tumor hypoxia. As such, we identified MPDZ as a novel modulator of Notch signaling by controlling ligand recruitment to adherens junctions.
Project description:Several angiogenesis inhibitors targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling pathway have been approved for cancer treatment. However, VEGF inhibitors alone were shown to promote tumor invasion and metastasis by increasing intratumoral hypoxia in some preclinical and clinical studies. Emerging reports suggest that Delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4) is a promising target of angiogenesis inhibition to augment the effects of VEGF inhibitors. To evaluate the effects of simultaneous blockade against VEGF and Dll4, we developed a bispecific antibody, HD105, targeting VEGF and Dll4. The HD105 bispecific antibody, which is composed of an anti-VEGF antibody (bevacizumab-similar) backbone C-terminally linked with a Dll4-targeting single-chain variable fragment, showed potent binding affinities against VEGF (KD: 1.3 nM) and Dll4 (KD: 30 nM). In addition, the HD105 bispecific antibody competitively inhibited the binding of ligands to their receptors, i.e., VEGF to VEGFR2 (EC50: 2.84 ± 0.41 nM) and Dll4 to Notch1 (EC50: 1.14 ± 0.06 nM). Using in vitro cell-based assays, we found that HD105 effectively blocked both the VEGF/VEGFR2 and Dll4/Notch1 signaling pathways in endothelial cells, resulting in a conspicuous inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation and sprouting. HD105 also suppressed Dll4-induced Notch1-dependent activation of the luciferase gene. In vivo xenograft studies demonstrated that HD105 more efficiently inhibited the tumor progression of human A549 lung and SCH gastric cancers than an anti-VEGF antibody or anti-Dll4 antibody alone. In conclusion, HD105 may be a novel therapeutic bispecific antibody for cancer treatment.
Project description:High-grade gliomas are characterized by exuberant vascularization, diffuse invasion, and significant chemoresistance, resulting in a recurrent phenotype that makes them impossible to eradicate in the long term. Targeting protumoral signals in the glioma microenvironment could have significant impact against tumor cells and the supporting niche that facilitates their growth. Fibulin-3 is a protein secreted by glioma cells, but absent in normal brain, that promotes tumor invasion and survival. We show here that fibulin-3 is a paracrine activator of Notch signaling in endothelial cells and promotes glioma angiogenesis. Fibulin-3 overexpression increased tumor VEGF levels, microvascular density, and vessel permeability, whereas fibulin-3 knockdown reduced vessel density in xenograft models of glioma. Fibulin-3 localization in human glioblastomas showed dense fiber-like condensations around tumor blood vessels, which were absent in normal brain, suggesting a remarkable association of this protein with tumor endothelium. At the cellular level, fibulin-3 enhanced endothelial cell motility and association to glioma cells, reduced endothelial cell sprouting, and increased formation of endothelial tubules in a VEGF-independent and Notch-dependent manner. Fibulin-3 increased ADAM10/17 activity in endothelial cells by inhibiting the metalloprotease inhibitor TIMP3; this resulted in increased Notch cleavage and increased expression of DLL4 independently of VEGF signaling. Inhibition of ADAM10/17 or knockdown of DLL4 reduced the proangiogenic effects of fibulin-3 in culture. Taken together, these results reveal a novel, proangiogenic role of fibulin-3 in gliomas, highlighting the relevance of this protein as an important molecular target in the tumor microenvironment.
Project description:Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays an important role in tumor angiogenesis. Several studies have reported that genomic VEGF polymorphisms may influence VEGF synthesis. To evaluate the role of VEGF single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we examined the expression of several angiogenesis-related proteins [VEGF, hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4)] and the spread of microvessels in resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Blood and tumor tissue from 83 patients with NSCLC were examined for VEGF -460T/C (rs833061) and VEGF +405G/C (rs2010963) SNPs using the SNaPshot method. Immunohistochemical staining was performed to measure protein expression and microvessel density (MVD). VEGF -460T/C and +405G/C SNPs showed no association with VEGF or HIF-1α expression and MVD. Patients with VEGF -460TT and the TC genotype had significantly higher MVD compared to those with the CC genotypes. Furthermore, patients with the VEGF -460TT genotype had significantly higher Dll4 expression compared to those with the TC or CC genotypes, while the VEGF +405G/C SNP displayed no association with Dll4 expression and MVD. These findings indicate that the VEGF -460T/C SNP may have a functional influence on tumor angiogenesis in NSCLC. We hypothesize that VEGF SNPs may influence angiogenesis through Dll4.
Project description:Angiogenesis, the fundamental process by which new blood vessels form from existing ones, depends on precise spatial and temporal gene expression within specific compartments of the endothelium. However, the molecular links between proangiogenic signals and downstream gene expression remain unclear. During sprouting angiogenesis, the specification of endothelial cells into the tip cells that lead new blood vessel sprouts is coordinated by vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) and Delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4)/Notch signaling and requires high levels of Notch ligand DLL4. Here, we identify MEF2 transcription factors as crucial regulators of sprouting angiogenesis directly downstream from VEGFA. Through the characterization of a Dll4 enhancer directing expression to endothelial cells at the angiogenic front, we found that MEF2 factors directly transcriptionally activate the expression of Dll4 and many other key genes up-regulated during sprouting angiogenesis in both physiological and tumor vascularization. Unlike ETS-mediated regulation, MEF2-binding motifs are not ubiquitous to all endothelial gene enhancers and promoters but are instead overrepresented around genes associated with sprouting angiogenesis. MEF2 target gene activation is directly linked to VEGFA-induced release of repressive histone deacetylases and concurrent recruitment of the histone acetyltransferase EP300 to MEF2 target gene regulatory elements, thus establishing MEF2 factors as the transcriptional effectors of VEGFA signaling during angiogenesis.
Project description:The healing of a fracture depends largely on the development of a new blood vessel network (angiogenesis) in the callus. During angiogenesis tip cells lead the developing sprout in response to extracellular signals, amongst which vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is critical. In order to ensure a correct development of the vasculature, the balance between stalk and tip cell phenotypes must be tightly controlled, which is primarily achieved by the Dll4-Notch1 signaling pathway. This study presents a novel multiscale model of osteogenesis and sprouting angiogenesis, incorporating lateral inhibition of endothelial cells (further denoted MOSAIC model) through Dll4-Notch1 signaling, and applies it to fracture healing. The MOSAIC model correctly predicted the bone regeneration process and recapitulated many experimentally observed aspects of tip cell selection: the salt and pepper pattern seen for cell fates, an increased tip cell density due to the loss of Dll4 and an excessive number of tip cells in high VEGF environments. When VEGF concentration was even further increased, the MOSAIC model predicted the absence of a vascular network and fracture healing, thereby leading to a non-union, which is a direct consequence of the mutual inhibition of neighboring cells through Dll4-Notch1 signaling. This result was not retrieved for a more phenomenological model that only considers extracellular signals for tip cell migration, which illustrates the importance of implementing the actual signaling pathway rather than phenomenological rules. Finally, the MOSAIC model demonstrated the importance of a proper criterion for tip cell selection and the need for experimental data to further explore this. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the MOSAIC model creates enhanced capabilities for investigating the influence of molecular mechanisms on angiogenesis and its relation to bone formation in a more mechanistic way and across different time and spatial scales.
Project description:Delta-like 4 (DLL4) and Jagged1 (JAG1) are two key Notch ligands implicated in tumour angiogenesis. They were shown to have opposite effects on mouse retinal and adult regenerative angiogenesis. In tumours, both ligands are upregulated but their relative effects and interactions in tumour biology, particularly in tumour response to therapeutic intervention are unclear. Here we demonstrate that DLL4 and JAG1 displayed equal potency in stimulating Notch target genes in HMEC-1 endothelial cells but had opposing effects on sprouting angiogenesis in vitro. Mouse DLL4 or JAG1 expressed in glioblastoma cells decreased tumour cell proliferation in vitro but promoted tumour growth in vivo. mDLL4-expressing tumours showed fewer but larger vessels whereas mJAG1-tumours produced more vessels. In both tumour types pericyte coverage was decreased but the vessels were more perfused. Both ligands increased tumour resistance towards anti-VEGF therapy but the resistance was higher in mDLL4-tumours versus mJAG1-tumours. However, their sensitivity to the therapy was restored by blocking Notch signalling with dibenzazepine. Importantly, anti-DLL4 antibody blocked the effect of JAG1 on tumour growth and increased vessel branching in vivo. The mechanism behind the differential responsiveness was due to a positive feedback loop for DLL4-Notch signalling, rendering DLL4 more dominant in activating Notch signalling in the tumour microenvironment. We concluded that DLL4 and JAG1 promote tumour growth by modulating tumour angiogenesis via different mechanisms. JAG1 is not antagonistic but utilises DLL4 in tumour angiogenesis. The results suggest that anti-JAG1 therapy should be explored in conjunction with anti-DLL4 treatment in developing anti-Notch therapies in clinics.