Vasorin, a transforming growth factor beta-binding protein expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells, modulates the arterial response to injury in vivo.
ABSTRACT: Growth factors, cell-surface receptors, adhesion molecules, and extracellular matrix proteins play critical roles in vascular pathophysiology by affecting growth, migration, differentiation, and survival of vascular cells. In a search for secreted and cell-surface molecules expressed in the cardiovascular system, by using a retrovirus-mediated signal sequence trap method, we isolated a cell-surface protein named vasorin. Vasorin is a typical type I membrane protein, containing tandem arrays of a characteristic leucine-rich repeat motif, an epidermal growth factor-like motif, and a fibronectin type III-like motif at the extracellular domain. Expression analyses demonstrated that vasorin is predominantly expressed in vascular smooth muscle cells, and that its expression is developmentally regulated. To clarify biological functions of vasorin, we searched for its binding partners and found that vasorin directly binds to transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta and attenuates TGF-beta signaling in vitro. Vasorin expression was down-regulated during vessel repair after arterial injury, and reversal of vasorin down-regulation, by using adenovirus-mediated in vivo gene transfer, significantly diminished injury-induced vascular lesion formation, at least in part, by inhibiting TGF-beta signaling in vivo. These results suggest that down-regulation of vasorin expression contributes to neointimal formation after vascular injury and that vasorin modulates cellular responses to pathological stimuli in the vessel wall. Thus, vasorin is a potential therapeutic target for vascular fibroproliferative disorders.
Project description:The glycosylated protein vasorin physically interacts with the transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-?1) and functionally attenuates its fibrogenic signaling in the vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) of the arterial wall. Angiotensin II (Ang II) amplifies TGF-?1 activation in the VSMCs of the arterial wall with aging. In this study, we hypothesized that a reduced expression of the protein vasorin plays a contributory role in magnifying Ang II-associated fibrogenic signaling in the VSMCs of the arterial wall with aging. The current study shows that vasorin mRNA and protein expression were significantly decreased both in aortic wall and VSMCs from old (30 mo) vs. young (8 mo) FXBN rats. Exposing young VSMCs to Ang II reduced vasorin protein expression to the levels of old untreated cells while treating old VSMCs with the Ang II type AT1 receptor antagonist Losartan upregulated vasorin protein expression up to the levels of young. The physical interaction between vasorin and TGF-?1 was significantly decreased in old vs. young VSMCs. Further, exposing young VSMCs to Ang II increased the levels of matrix metalloproteinase type II (MMP-2) activation and TGF-?1 downstream molecules p-SMAD-2/3 and collagen type I production up to the levels of old untreated VSMCs, and these effects were substantially inhibited by overexpressing vasorin. Administration of Ang II to young rats (8 mo) for 28 days via an osmotic minipump markedly reduced the expression of vasorin. Importantly, vasorin protein was effectively cleaved by activated MMP-2 both in vitro and in vivo. Administration of the MMP inhibitor, PD 166793, for 6 mo to young adult (18 mo) via a daily gavage markedly increased levels of vasorin in the aortic wall. Thus, reduced vasorin amplifies Ang II profibrotic signaling via an activation of MMP-2 in VSMCs within the aging arterial wall.
Project description:Tumor hypoxia is associated with poor patient survival and is a characteristic of glioblastoma. Notch signaling is implicated in maintaining glioma stem-like cells (GSCs) within the hypoxic niche, although the molecular mechanisms linking hypoxia to Notch activation have not been clearly delineated. Here we show that Vasorin is a critical link between hypoxia and Notch signaling in GSCs. Vasorin is preferentially induced in GSCs by a HIF1?/STAT3 co-activator complex and stabilizes Notch1 protein at the cell membrane. This interaction prevents Numb from binding Notch1, rescuing it from Numb-mediated lysosomal degradation. Thus, Vasorin acts as a switch to augment Notch signaling under hypoxic conditions. Vasorin promotes tumor growth and reduces survival in mouse models of glioblastoma, and its expression correlates with increased aggression of human gliomas. These findings provide mechanistic insights into how hypoxia promotes Notch signaling in glioma and identify Vasorin as a potential therapeutic target.
Project description:Glioma, the most common human primary brain tumor, is characterized by invasive capabilities and angiogenesis. Vasorin (VASN), a transmembrane protein, is reported to be associated with vascular injury repair and is overexpressed in some human tumors. However, its role in tumor progression and angiogenesis in glioma is unknown. In this study, VASN was shown to be overexpressed in high-grade gliomas, and the expression level correlated with tumor grade and microvessel density in glioma specimens. Glioma patients with high VASN expression had a shorter overall survival time. Knockdown of VASN in glioma cells by shRNA significantly inhibited the malignancy of glioma, including cell proliferation, colony formation, invasion, and sphere formation. Ectopic expression of VASN increased glioma progression in vitro. The expression of VASN correlated with the mesenchymal type of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) subtyped by gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA). Our results showed that the concentration of VASN was increased in the conditioned medium (CM) from glioma cells with VASN overexpression, and the CM from glioma cells with knockdown or overexpressed VASN inhibited or promoted HUVEC migration and tubulogenesis in vitro, respectively. Glioma growth and angiogenesis were stimulated upon ectopic expression of VASN in vivo. The STAT3 and NOTCH pathways were found to be activated and inhibited by VASN overexpression. Our findings suggest that VASN stimulates tumor progression and angiogenesis in glioma, and, as such, represents a novel therapeutic target for glioma.
Project description:First described in 1988, vasorin (VASN) is a transmembrane glycoprotein expressed during early mouse development, and with a less extent, in various organs and tissues (e.g., kidney, aorta, and brain) postnatally. Vasn KO mice die after 3 weeks of life from unknown cause(s). No human disease has been associated with variants of this gene so far, but VASN seems to be a potential biomarker for nephropathies and tumorigenesis. Its interactions with the TGF-? and Notch1 pathways offer the most serious assumptions regarding VASN functions. In this review, we will describe current knowledge about this glycoprotein and discuss its implication in various organ pathophysiology.
Project description:ST3Gal1 is a key sialyltransferase which adds α2,3-linked sialic acid to substrates and generates core 1 O-glycan structure. Upregulation of ST3Gal1 has been associated with worse prognosis of breast cancer patients. However, the protein substrates of ST3Gal1 implicated in tumor progression remain elusive. In our study, we demonstrated that ST3GAL1-silencing significantly reduced tumor growth along with a notable decrease in vascularity of MCF7 xenograft tumors. We identified vasorin (VASN) which was shown to bind TGF-β1, as a potential candidate that links ST3Gal1 to angiogenesis. LC-MS/MS analysis of VASN secreted from MCF7, revealed that more than 80% of its O-glycans are sialyl-3T and disialyl-T. ST3GAL1-silencing or desialylation of VASN by neuraminidase enhanced its binding to TGF-β1 by 2- to 3-fold and thereby dampening TGF-β1 signaling and angiogenesis, as indicated by impaired tube formation of HUVECs, suppressed angiogenesis gene expression and reduced activation of Smad2 and Smad3 in HUVEC cells. Examination of 114 fresh primary breast cancer and their adjacent normal tissues showed that the expression levels of ST3Gal1 and TGFB1 were high in tumor part and the expression of two genes was positively correlated. Kaplan Meier survival analysis showed a significantly shorter relapse-free survival for those with lower expression VASN, notably, the combination of low VASN with high ST3GAL1 yielded even higher risk of recurrence (p = 0.025, HR = 2.967, 95% CI = 1.14-7.67). Since TGF-β1 is known to transcriptionally activate ST3Gal1, our findings illustrated a feedback regulatory loop in which TGF-β1 upregulates ST3Gal1 to circumvent the negative impact of VASN.
Project description:Smooth muscle cell (SMC) differentiation is a dynamic process that must be tightly regulated for proper vascular development and to control the onset of vascular disease. Our laboratory previously reported that a specific focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor termed FRNK (FAK Related Non-Kinase) is selectively expressed in large arterioles when SMCs are transitioning from a synthetic to contractile phenotype and that FRNK inhibits FAK-dependent SMC proliferation and migration. Herein, we sought to determine whether FRNK expression modulates SMC phenotypes in vivo.We present evidence that FRNK(-/-) mice exhibit attenuated SM marker gene expression during postnatal vessel growth and after vascular injury. We also show that FRNK expression is regulated by transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta and that forced expression of FRNK in cultured cells induces serum- and TGF-beta-stimulated SM marker gene expression, whereas FRNK deletion or expression of a constitutively activated FAK variant attenuated SM gene transcription.These data highlight the possibility that extrinsic signals regulate the SMC gene profile, at least in part, by modulating the expression of FRNK and that tight regulation of FAK activity by FRNK is important for proper SMC differentiation during development and after vascular injury.
Project description:Excessive vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation, migration and extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis are key events in the development of intimal hyperplasia, a pathophysiological response to acute or chronic sources of vascular damage that can lead to occlusive narrowing of the vessel lumen. Atherosclerosis, the primary cause of coronary artery disease, is characterised by chronic vascular inflammation and dyslipidemia, while revascularisation surgeries such as coronary stenting and bypass grafting represent acute forms of vascular injury. Gene knockouts of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF?), its receptors and downstream signalling proteins have demonstrated the importance of this pleiotropic cytokine during vasculogenesis and in the maintenance of vascular homeostasis. Dysregulated TGF? signalling is a hallmark of many vascular diseases, and has been associated with the induction of pathological vascular cell phenotypes, fibrosis and ECM remodelling. Here we present an overview of TGF? signalling in SMCs, highlighting the ways in which this multifaceted cytokine regulates SMC behaviour and phenotype in cardiovascular diseases driven by intimal hyperplasia.
Project description:Human vasorin (VASN) as a type I transmembrane protein, is a potential biomarker of hepatocellular carcinoma, which could expedite HepG2 cell proliferation and migration significantly in vitro. The ectodomain of VASN was proteolytically released to generate soluble VASN (sVASN), which was validated to be the active form. Among several monoclonal antibodies produced against sVASN, the clone V21 was found to bind with the recombinant human sVASN (rhsVASN) with the highest affinity and specificity, and also have inhibitory effects on proliferation and migration of HepG2 cells. Hence the phage-displayed peptide library was screened against the antibody V21. The positive phage clones were isolated and sequenced, and one unique consensus motifs was obtained. The result of sequence alignment showed that the conserved motif had similarity to VASN(Cys432-Cys441), embedded in the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domain. The synthetic mimotope peptide V21P1 and V21P2 were confirmed to bind with V21 and could compete with rhsVASN in ELISA assay. And they could also almost completely reverse the inhibitory effect of V21 on HepG2 migration and proliferation. Furthermore, the antibodies produced against V21P1 were able to bind not only with the peptide V21P1, but also with rhsVASN and the natural VASN from HepG2 cell. Our results showed that V21 seemed to be a functional antibody. The mimotopes toward V21 might mimic the functional domain of VASN, which would be helpful to exploit VASN functions and act as a candidate target for developing therapeutic antibodies against VASN.
Project description:Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta 1) is a multifunctional cytokine that contributes to arterial remodelling by stimulating vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) growth and collagen synthesis at sites of vascular injury. Since l-proline is essential for the synthesis of collagen, we examined whether TGF-beta 1 regulates the transcellular transport of l-proline by vascular SMCs. l-Proline uptake by vascular SMCs was primarily sodium-dependent, pH-sensitive, blocked by neutral amino acids and alpha-(methylamino)isobutyric acid, and exhibited trans-inhibition. Treatment of SMCs with TGF-beta 1 stimulated l-proline transport in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. The TGF-beta 1-mediated l-proline uptake was inhibited by cycloheximide or actinomycin D. Kinetic studies indicated that TGF-beta 1-induced l-proline transport was mediated by an increase in transport capacity independent of any changes in the affinity for l-proline. TGF-beta 1 stimulated the expression of system A amino acid transporter 2 (SAT2) mRNA in a time-dependent fashion that paralleled the increase in l-proline transport. Reverse transcriptase PCR failed to detect the presence of SAT1 or amino acid transporter 3 (ATA3) in either untreated or TGF-beta 1-treated SMCs. These results demonstrate that l-proline transport by vascular SMCs is mediated predominantly by the SAT and that TGF-beta 1 stimulates SMC l-proline uptake by inducing the expression of the SAT2 gene. The ability of TGF-beta 1 to induce SAT2 expression may function to provide SMCs with the necessary levels of l-proline required for collagen synthesis and cell growth.
Project description:The activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK1) is a type I receptor for transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) family proteins. Expression of ALK1 in blood vessels and mutations of the ALK1 gene in human type II hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia patients suggest that ALK1 may have an important role during vascular development. To define the function of ALK1 during development, we inactivated the ALK1 gene in mice by gene targeting. The ALK1 homozygous embryos die at midgestation, exhibiting severe vascular abnormalities characterized by excessive fusion of capillary plexes into cavernous vessels and hyperdilation of large vessels. These vascular defects are associated with enhanced expression of angiogenic factors and proteases and are characterized by deficient differentiation and recruitment of vascular smooth muscle cells. The blood vessel defects in ALK1-deficient mice are reminiscent of mice lacking TGF-beta1, TGF-beta type II receptor (TbetaR-II), or endoglin, suggesting that ALK1 may mediate TGF-beta1 signal in endothelial cells. Consistent with this hypothesis, we demonstrate that ALK1 in endothelial cells binds to TGF-beta1 and TbetaR-II. Furthermore, the ALK1 signaling pathway can inhibit TGF-beta1-dependent transcriptional activation mediated by the known TGF-beta1 type I receptor, ALK5. Taken together, our results suggest that the balance between the ALK1 and ALK5 signaling pathways in endothelial cells plays a crucial role in determining vascular endothelial properties during angiogenesis.