VEGF189 binds NRP1 and is sufficient for VEGF/NRP1-dependent neuronal patterning in the developing brain.
ABSTRACT: The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFA, VEGF) regulates neurovascular patterning. Alternative splicing of the Vegfa gene gives rise to three major isoforms termed VEGF121, VEGF165 and VEGF189. VEGF165 binds the transmembrane protein neuropilin 1 (NRP1) and promotes the migration, survival and axon guidance of subsets of neurons, whereas VEGF121 cannot activate NRP1-dependent neuronal responses. By contrast, the role of VEGF189 in NRP1-mediated signalling pathways has not yet been examined. Here, we have combined expression studies and in situ ligand-binding assays with the analysis of genetically altered mice and in vitro models to demonstrate that VEGF189 can bind NRP1 and promote NRP1-dependent neuronal responses.
Project description:The existence of multiple VEGF-A isoforms raised the possibility that they may have distinct functions in tumor growth. We have previously published that VEGF189 and VEGF165 contribute to breast cancer progression and angiogenesis, but VEGF165 induced the most rapid tumor uptake. Since VEGF165 has been described as a survival factor for breast tumor cells, we questioned here the effects of VEGF189 on the survival/apoptosis of MDA-MB-231 cells. We used clones which overexpress VEGF189 (V189) or VEGF165 (V165) isoforms and compared them to a control one (cV). Overexpression of VEGF189 resulted in increased cell apoptosis, as determined by Annexin-V apoptosis assay, under serum starvation and doxorubicin treatment, while VEGF 165 was confirmed to be a survival factor. Since MDA-MB-231 highly express NRP1 (a co-receptor for VEGF-A), we used short hairpin RNA (shRNA) to knockdown NRP1 expression. V189shNRP1 clones were characterized by reduced apoptosis and higher necrosis, as compared to V189shCtl, under stress conditions. Unexpectedly, NRP1 knock-down had no effect on the survival or apoptosis of V165 cells. VEGF189 showed greater affinity towards NRP1 than VEGF165 using a BIAcore binding assay. Finally, since endogenously produced urokinase-type plasminogen (uPA) has been found to prevent apoptosis in breast cancers, we analyzed the level of uPA activity in our clones. An inhibition of uPA activity was observed in V189shNRP1 clones. Altogether, these results suggest a major role of NRP1 in apoptosis induced by VEGF189 in stress conditions and confirm VEGF165 as a survival factor.
Project description:Previous work in our laboratory demonstrated that hyperoxia suppressed the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) by the embryonic lung, leading to increased epithelial cell apoptosis and failure of explant airway growth and branching that was rescued by the addition of Vegf165. The aims of this study were to determine protective pathways by which VEGF isoforms attenuate hyperoxic lung growth retardation and to identify the target cell for VEGF action.Timed pregnant CD-1 or fetal liver kinase (FLK1)-eGFP lung explants cultured in 3% or 50% oxygen were treated ± Vegf121, VEGF164/Vegf165 or VEGF188 in the presence or absence of anti-rat neuropilin-1 (NRP1) antibody or GO6983 (protein kinase C (PKC) pan-inhibitor) and lung growth and branching quantified. Immunofluorescence studies were performed to determine apoptosis index and location of FLK1 phosphorylation and western blot studies of lung explants were performed to define the signaling pathways that mediate the protective effects of VEGF.Heparin-binding VEGF isoforms (VEGF164/Vegf165 and VEGF188) but not Vegf121 selectively reduced epithelial apoptosis and partially rescued lung bud branching and growth. These protective effects required NRP1-dependent FLK1 activation in endothelial cells. Analysis of downstream signaling pathways demonstrated that the VEGF-mediated anti-apoptotic effects were dependent on PKC activation.Vegf165 activates FLK1-NRP1 signaling in endothelial cells, leading to a PKC-dependent paracrine signal that in turn inhibits epithelial cell apoptosis.
Project description:The expressions of different vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoforms are associated with the degree of tumor invasiveness and the patient's prognosis in human cancers. We hypothesized that different VEGF isoforms can exert different effects on the functional and structural characteristics of tumor angiogenesis. We used dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) and steady-state contrast-enhanced MRI (SSCE-MRI) to evaluate in vivo vascular functions (e.g., perfusion and permeability) and structural characteristics (e.g., vascular size and vessel density) of the tumor angiogenesis induced by different VEGF isoforms (VEGF121, VEGF165, and VEGF189) in a murine xenograft model of human lung cancer. Tumors overexpressing VEGF189 were larger than those overexpressing the other two VEGF isoforms. The K(trans) map obtained from DCE-MRI revealed that the perfusion and permeability functions of tumor microvessels was highest in both the rim and core regions of VEGF189-overexpressing tumors (p<0.001 for both tumor rim and core). The relative vessel density and relative vessel size indexes derived from SSCE-MRI revealed that VEGF189-overexpressing tumors had the smallest (p<0.05) and the most-dense (p<0.01) microvessels, which penetrated deeply from the tumor rim into the core, followed by the VEGF165-overepxressing tumor, whose microvessels were located mainly in the tumor rim. The lowest-density microvessels were found in the VEGF121-overexpressing tumor; these microvessels had a relatively large lumen and were found mainly in the tumor rim. We conclude that among the three VEGF isoforms evaluated, VEGF189 induces the most densely sprouting and smallest tumor microvessels with the highest in vivo perfusion and permeability functions. These characteristics of tumor microvessels may contribute to the reported adverse effects of VEGF189 overexpression on tumor progression, metastasis, and patient survival in several human cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer, and suggest that applying aggressive therapy may be necessary in human cancers in which VEGF189 is overexpressed.
Project description:Although bevacizumab (Avastin®) has been approved as an antiangiogenic agent against some cancers, the efficacy is transient and unsatisfactory in other cancers most likely owing to the presence of alternative proangiogenic factors. Therefore, simultaneous blocking of several proangiogenic factors may be a promising strategy for antiangiogenic cancer therapeutics. Accordingly, neuropilin-1 (NRP1) is an attractive target because it serves as a multifunctional receptor for the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family. Here, we aimed to generate and test an anti-VEGFA and anti-NRP1 dual-targeting bispecific antibody (named as IDB0076) by genetic fusion of an NRP1-targeting peptide to the C-terminus of the bevacizumab heavy chain. Similar to the parental antibody (bevacizumab), IDB0076 suppressed VEGFA-induced migration of human endothelial cells. In contrast, IDB0076 inhibited endothelial-cell migration induced by other angiogenesis growth factors and manifested a more potent antitumor activity than that of bevacizumab in a murine tumor xenograft model. When toxicity was preliminarily evaluated in cynomolgus monkeys, IDB0076 showed no substantial adverse effects, e.g., the absence of noticeable nephrotoxicity, which has previously been documented for the combination therapy of bevacizumab and an anti-NRP1 antibody. Thus, VEGFA-and-NRP1 dual-targeting bispecific antibody IDB0076 may be a potent and safe anticancer agent worthy of further preclinical and clinical studies.
Project description:Neurovascular development requires communication between two developing organs, the neuroepithelium and embryonic blood vessels. We investigated the role of VEGF-A signaling in the embryonic crosstalk required for ingression of angiogenic vessel sprouts into the developing neural tube. As the neural tube develops, blood vessels enter at specific points medially and ventrally from the surrounding perineural vascular plexus. Localized ectopic expression of heparin-binding VEGF165 or VEGF189 from the developing avian neural tube resulted in supernumerary blood vessel ingression points and disrupted vessel patterning. By contrast, localized ectopic neural expression of non-heparin-binding VEGF121 did not produce supernumerary blood vessel ingression points, although the vessels that entered the neural tube became dysmorphogenic. Localized loss of endogenous VEGF-A signaling in the developing neural tube via ectopic expression of the VEGF inhibitor sFlt-1 locally blocked blood vessel ingression. The VEGF pathway manipulations were temporally controlled and did not dramatically affect neural tube maturation and dorsal-ventral patterning. Thus, neural-derived VEGF-A has a direct role in the spatially localized molecular crosstalk that is required for neurovascular development and vessel patterning in the developing neural tube.
Project description:Neuropilin 1 (NRP1) is expressed by neurons, blood vessels, immune cells and many other cell types in the mammalian body and binds a range of structurally and functionally diverse extracellular ligands to modulate organ development and function. In recent years, several types of mouse knockout models have been developed that have provided useful tools for experimental investigation of NRP1 function, and a multitude of therapeutics targeting NRP1 have been designed, mostly with the view to explore them for cancer treatment. This review provides a general overview of current knowledge of the signalling pathways that are modulated by NRP1, with particular focus on neuronal and vascular roles in the brain and retina. This review will also discuss the potential of NRP1 inhibitors for the treatment for neovascular eye diseases.
Project description:Psoriasis is a common chronic skin disorder characterized by keratinocyte hyperproliferation with altered differentiation accompanied by inflammation and increased angiogenesis. It remains unclear whether the first events that initiate psoriasis development occur in keratinocytes or inflammatory cells. Here, using different psoriasis mouse models, we showed that conditional deletion of Flt1 or Nrp1 in epidermal cells inhibited psoriasis mediated by Vegfa overexpression or c-Jun/JunB deletion. Administration of anti-Nrp1 antibody reverted the psoriasis phenotype. Using transcriptional and chromatin profiling of epidermal cells following Vegfa overexpression together with Flt1 or Nrp1 deletion, we identified the gene regulatory network regulated by Vegfa/Nrp1/Flt1 during psoriasis development and uncovered a key role of Fosl1 in regulating the chromatin remodeling mediated by Vegfa overexpression in keratinocytes. In conclusion, our study identifies an epidermal autonomous function of Vegfa/Nrp1/Flt1 that mediates psoriatic-like disease and demonstrates the clinical relevance of blocking Vegfa/Nrp1/Flt1 axis in psoriasis.
Project description:Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons are neuroendocrine cells that are born in the nasal placode during embryonic development and migrate through the nose and forebrain to the hypothalamus, where they regulate reproduction. Many molecular pathways that guide their migration have been identified, but little is known about the factors that control the survival of the migrating GnRH neurons as they negotiate different environments. We previously reported that the class 3 semaphorin SEMA3A signals through its neuropilin receptors, NRP1 and NRP2, to organise the axons that guide migrating GnRH neurons from their birthplace into the brain. By combining analysis of genetically altered mice with in vitro models, we show here that the alternative neuropilin ligand VEGF164 promotes the survival of migrating GnRH neurons by co-activating the ERK and AKT signalling pathways through NRP1. We also demonstrate that survival signalling relies on neuronal, but not endothelial, NRP1 expression and that it occurs independently of KDR, the main VEGF receptor in blood vessels. Therefore, VEGF164 provides survival signals directly to developing GnRH neurons, independently of its role in blood vessels. Finally, we show that the VEGF164-mediated neuronal survival and SEMA3A-mediated axon guidance cooperate to ensure that migrating GnRH neurons reach the brain. Thus, the loss of both neuropilin ligands leads to an almost complete failure to establish the GnRH neuron system.
Project description:Alternative splicing leads to the secretion of multiple forms of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) that differ in their activity profiles with respect to neovascularization. FSAP (factor VII activating protease) is the zymogen form of a plasma protease that is activated (FSAPa) upon tissue injury via the release of histones. The purpose of the study was to determine if FSAPa regulates VEGF-A activity in vitro and in vivo. FSAP bound to VEGF165, but not VEGF121, and VEGF165 was cleaved in its neuropilin/proteoglycan binding domain. VEGF165 cleavage did not alter its binding to VEGF receptors but diminished its binding to neuropilin. The stimulatory effects of VEGF165 on endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and signal transduction were not altered by FSAP. Similarly, proliferation of VEGF receptor-expressing BAF3 cells, in response to VEGF165, was not modulated by FSAP. In the mouse matrigel model of angiogenesis, FSAP decreased the ability of VEGF165, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), and their combination, to induce neovascularization. Lack of endogenous FSAP in mice did not influence neovascularization. Thus, FSAP inhibited VEGF165-mediated angiogenesis in the matrigel model in vivo, where VEGF's interaction with the matrix and its diffusion are important.
Project description:Neuropilin 1 (NRP1) is a receptor for class 3 semaphorins and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) A and is essential for cardiovascular development. Biochemical evidence supports a model for NRP1 function in which VEGF binding induces complex formation between NRP1 and VEGFR2 to enhance endothelial VEGF signalling. However, the relevance of VEGF binding to NRP1 for angiogenesis in vivo has not yet been examined. We therefore generated knock-in mice expressing Nrp1 with a mutation of tyrosine (Y) 297 in the VEGF binding pocket of the NRP1 b1 domain, as this residue was previously shown to be important for high affinity VEGF binding and NRP1-VEGFR2 complex formation. Unexpectedly, this targeting strategy also severely reduced NRP1 expression and therefore generated a NRP1 hypomorph. Despite the loss of VEGF binding and attenuated NRP1 expression, homozygous Nrp1(Y297A/Y297A) mice were born at normal Mendelian ratios, arguing against NRP1 functioning exclusively as a VEGF164 receptor in embryonic angiogenesis. By overcoming the mid-gestation lethality of full Nrp1-null mice, homozygous Nrp1(Y297A/Y297A) mice revealed essential roles for NRP1 in postnatal angiogenesis and arteriogenesis in the heart and retina, pathological neovascularisation of the retina and angiogenesis-dependent tumour growth.