Marcksl1 modulates endothelial cell mechanoresponse to haemodynamic forces to control blood vessel shape and size.
ABSTRACT: The formation of vascular tubes is driven by extensive changes in endothelial cell (EC) shape. Here, we have identified a role of the actin-binding protein, Marcksl1, in modulating the mechanical properties of EC cortex to regulate cell shape and vessel structure during angiogenesis. Increasing and depleting Marcksl1 expression level in vivo results in an increase and decrease, respectively, in EC size and the diameter of microvessels. Furthermore, endothelial overexpression of Marcksl1 induces ectopic blebbing on both apical and basal membranes, during and after lumen formation, that is suppressed by reduced blood flow. High resolution imaging reveals that Marcksl1 promotes the formation of linear actin bundles and decreases actin density at the EC cortex. Our findings demonstrate that a balanced network of linear and branched actin at the EC cortex is essential in conferring cortical integrity to resist the deforming forces of blood flow to regulate vessel structure.
Project description:Cell migration is a fundamental biological function, critical during development and regeneration, whereas deregulated migration underlies neurological birth defects and cancer metastasis. MARCKS-like protein 1 (MARCKSL1) is widely expressed in nervous tissue, where, like Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK), it is required for neural tube formation, though the mechanism is unknown. Here we show that MARCKSL1 is directly phosphorylated by JNK on C-terminal residues (S120, T148, and T183). This phosphorylation enables MARCKSL1 to bundle and stabilize F-actin, increase filopodium numbers and dynamics, and retard migration in neurons. Conversely, when MARCKSL1 phosphorylation is inhibited, actin mobility increases and filopodium formation is compromised whereas lamellipodium formation is enhanced, as is cell migration. We find that MARCKSL1 mRNA is upregulated in a broad range of cancer types and that MARCKSL1 protein is strongly induced in primary prostate carcinomas. Gene knockdown in prostate cancer cells or in neurons reveals a critical role for MARCKSL1 in migration that is dependent on the phosphorylation state; phosphomimetic MARCKSL1 (MARCKSL1(S120D,T148D,T183D)) inhibits whereas dephospho-MARCKSL1(S120A,T148A,T183A) induces migration. In summary, these data show that JNK phosphorylation of MARCKSL1 regulates actin homeostasis, filopodium and lamellipodium formation, and neuronal migration under physiological conditions and that, when ectopically expressed in prostate cancer cells, MARCKSL1 again determines cell movement.
Project description:Abnormalities in limbic neural circuits have been implicated in the onset of anxiety disorders. However, the molecular pathogenesis underlying anxiety disorders remains poorly elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate like 1 (MARCKSL1) regulates amygdala circuitry to control the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, as well as induces anxiety-like behaviors in mice. MARCKSL1 expression was predominantly localized in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala of the adult mouse brain. MARCKSL1 transgenic (Tg) mice exhibited anxiety-like behaviors dependent on corticotropin-releasing hormone. MARCKSL1 increased spine formation in the central amygdala, and downregulation of MARCKSL1 in the amygdala normalized both increased HPA axis activity and elevated anxiety-like behaviors in Tg mice. Furthermore, MARCKSL1 expression was increased in the PFC and amygdala in a brain injury model associated with anxiety-like behaviors. Our findings suggest that MARCKSL1 expression in the amygdala plays an important role in anxiety-like behaviors.
Project description:Lung cancer is the most common cancer in males and females and ~40% of lung cancer cases are adenocarcinomas. Previous studies have demonstrated that myristoylated alanine rich protein kinase C substrate (MARCKS) is upregulated in several types of cancer and is associated with poor prognosis in patients with breast cancer. However, its expression level and role in lung adenocarcinoma remain unknown. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the expression level and biological functions of MARCKS like 1 (MARCKSL1), a member of the MARCKS family, in lung adenocarcinoma. The expression level of MARCKSL1 was examined in human lung adenocarcinoma tissues and cell lines. MARCKSL1-specific small interfering RNAs effectively suppressed its expression level and significantly inhibited the proliferation, migration and invasion of lung adenocarcinoma cells. Additionally, the role of MARCKSLI in the regulation of metastasis was examined. Silencing MARCKSL1 decreased the expression of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-associated proteins E-cadherin, N-cadherin, vimentin and snail family transcriptional repressor 2, and decreased the phosphorylation level of AKT. The results obtained in the current study suggested that MARCKSL1 promoted the progression of lung adenocarcinoma by regulating EMT. MARCKSLI may have prognostic value and serve as a novel therapeutic target in lung adenocarcinoma.
Project description:Protein expression of Myristoylated alanine-rich C kinase substrate like-1 (MARCKSL1) has been identified as a prognostic factor in lymph-node negative (LN-) breast cancer patients. We aim to validate MARCKSL1 protein expression as a prognostic marker for distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) in a new cohort of LN- breast cancer patients. MARCKSL1 expression was evaluated in 151 operable T1,2N0M0 LN- breast cancer patients by immunohistochemistry. Median follow-up time was 152 months, range 11-189 months. Results were compared with classical prognosticators (age, tumor diameter, grade, estrogen receptor, and proliferation) using single (Kaplan-Meier) and multivariate (Cox model) survival analysis. Thirteen patients (9%) developed distant metastases. With both single and multiple analysis of all features, MARCKSL1 did not show a significant prognostic value for DMFS (p = 0.498). Of the assessed classical prognosticators, only tumor diameter showed prognostic value (hazard ratio 9.3, 95% confidence interval 2.8-31.0, p <0.001). MARCKSL1 expression could not be confirmed as a prognostic factor in this cohort. Possible reasons include changes in diagnostic and treatment guidelines between the discovery and validation cohorts. Further studies are needed to reveal the potential biological role of this protein in breast cancer.
Project description:Human pluripotent stem cells can be rapidly converted into functional neurons by ectopic expression of proneural transcription factors. Here we show that directly reprogrammed neurons, despite their rapid maturation kinetics, can model teratogenic mechanisms that specifically affect early neurodevelopment. We delineated distinct phases of in vitro maturation during reprogramming of human neurons and assessed the cellular phenotypes of valproic acid (VPA), a teratogenic drug. VPA exposure caused chronic impairment of dendritic morphology and functional properties of developing neurons, but not those of mature neurons. These pathogenic effects were associated with VPA-mediated inhibition of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) and glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) pathways, which caused transcriptional downregulation of many genes, including MARCKSL1, an actin-stabilizing protein essential for dendritic morphogenesis and synapse maturation during early neurodevelopment. Our findings identify a developmentally restricted pathogenic mechanism of VPA and establish the use of reprogrammed neurons as an effective platform for modeling teratogenic pathways.
Project description:The Rho family of small GTPases has been shown to be required in endothelial cells (ECs) during blood vessel formation. However, the underlying cellular events controlled by different GTPases remain unclear. Here, we assess the cellular mechanisms by which Cdc42 regulates mammalian vascular morphogenesis and maintenance. In vivo deletion of Cdc42 in embryonic ECs (Cdc42(Tie2KO)) results in blocked lumen formation and endothelial tearing, leading to lethality of mutant embryos by E9-10 due to failed blood circulation. Similarly, inducible deletion of Cdc42 (Cdc42(Cad5KO)) at mid-gestation blocks angiogenic tubulogenesis. By contrast, deletion of Cdc42 in postnatal retinal vessels leads to aberrant vascular remodeling and sprouting, as well as markedly reduced filopodia formation. We find that Cdc42 is essential for organization of EC adhesion, as its loss results in disorganized cell-cell junctions and reduced focal adhesions. Endothelial polarity is also rapidly lost upon Cdc42 deletion, as seen by failed localization of apical podocalyxin (PODXL) and basal actin. We link observed failures to a defect in F-actin organization, both in vitro and in vivo, which secondarily impairs EC adhesion and polarity. We also identify Cdc42 effectors Pak2/4 and N-WASP, as well as the actomyosin machinery, to be crucial for EC actin organization. This work supports the notion of Cdc42 as a central regulator of the cellular machinery in ECs that drives blood vessel formation.
Project description:The spectrin-based membrane skeleton is a major component of the cell cortex. While expressed by all metazoans, its dynamic interactions with the other cortex components, including the plasma membrane or the acto-myosin cytoskeleton, are poorly understood. Here, we investigate how spectrin re-organizes spatially and dynamically under the membrane during changes in cell mechanics. We find spectrin and acto-myosin to be spatially distinct but cooperating during mechanical challenges, such as cell adhesion and contraction, or compression, stretch and osmolarity fluctuations, creating a cohesive cortex supporting the plasma membrane. Actin territories control protrusions and contractile structures while spectrin territories concentrate in retractile zones and low-actin density/inter-contractile regions, acting as a fence that organize membrane trafficking events. We unveil here the existence of a dynamic interplay between acto-myosin and spectrin necessary to support a mesoscale organization of the lipid bilayer into spatially-confined cortical territories during cell mechanoresponse.
Project description:Endothelial cells (ECs) lining blood vessels express many mechanosensors, including platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1), that convert mechanical force into biochemical signals. While it is accepted that mechanical stresses and the mechanical properties of ECs regulate vessel health, the relationship between force and biological response remains elusive. Here we show that ECs integrate mechanical forces and extracellular matrix (ECM) cues to modulate their own mechanical properties. We demonstrate that the ECM influences EC response to tension on PECAM-1. ECs adherent on collagen display divergent stiffening and focal adhesion growth compared with ECs on fibronectin. This is because of protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent serine phosphorylation and inactivation of RhoA. PKA signalling regulates focal adhesion dynamics and EC compliance in response to shear stress in vitro and in vivo. Our study identifies an ECM-specific, mechanosensitive signalling pathway that regulates EC compliance and may serve as an atheroprotective mechanism that maintains blood vessel integrity in vivo.
Project description:The age- and disease-dependent presence of microvessels within heart valves is an understudied characteristic of these tissues. Neovascularization involves endothelial cell (EC) migration and cytoskeletal reorientation, which are heavily regulated by the Rho family of GTPases. Given that valve ECs demonstrate unique mesenchymal transdifferentiation and cytoskeletal mechanoresponsiveness, compared to vascular ECs, this study quantified the effect of inhibiting two members of the Rho family on vasculogenic network formation by valve ECs.A tubule-like structure vasculogenesis assay (assessing lacunarity, junction density, and vessel density) was performed with porcine aortic valve ECs treated with small molecule inhibitors of Rho-associated serine-threonine protein kinase (ROCK), Y-27632, or the Rac1 inhibitor, NSC-23766. Actin coordination, cell number, and cell migration were assessed through immunocytochemistry, MTT assay, and scratch wound healing assay. ROCK inhibition reduced network lacunarity and interrupted proper cell-cell adhesion and actin coordination. Rac1 inhibition increased lacunarity and delayed actin-mediated network formation. ROCK inhibition alone significantly inhibited migration, whereas both ROCK and Rac1 inhibition significantly reduced cell number over time compared to controls. Compared to a vascular EC line, the valve ECs generated a network with larger total vessel length, but a less smooth appearance.Both ROCK and Rac1 inhibition interfered with key processes in vascular network formation by valve ECs. This is the first report of manipulation of valve EC vasculogenic organization in response to small molecule inhibitors. Further study is warranted to comprehend this facet of valvular cell biology and pathology and how it differs from vascular biology.
Project description:Cardiovascular function depends on patent, continuous and stable blood vessel formation by endothelial cells (ECs). Blood vessel development initiates by vasculogenesis, as ECs coalesce into linear aggregates and organize to form central lumens that allow blood flow. Molecular mechanisms underlying in vivo vascular 'tubulogenesis' are only beginning to be unraveled. We previously showed that the GTPase-interacting protein called Rasip1 is required for the formation of continuous vascular lumens in the early embryo. Rasip1(-/-) ECs exhibit loss of proper cell polarity and cell shape, disrupted localization of EC-EC junctions and defects in adhesion of ECs to extracellular matrix. In vitro studies showed that Rasip1 depletion in cultured ECs blocked tubulogenesis. Whether Rasip1 is required in blood vessels after their initial formation remained unclear. Here, we show that Rasip1 is essential for vessel formation and maintenance in the embryo, but not in quiescent adult vessels. Rasip1 is also required for angiogenesis in three models of blood vessel growth: in vitro matrix invasion, retinal blood vessel growth and directed in vivo angiogenesis assays. Rasip1 is thus necessary in growing embryonic blood vessels, postnatal angiogenic sprouting and remodeling, but is dispensable for maintenance of established blood vessels, making it a potential anti-angiogenic therapeutic target.