In the vasculature, Notch signaling functions as a downstream effecter of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) signaling. VEGF regulates sprouting angiogenesis in part by inducing and activating matrix metalloproteases (MMPs). This study sought to determine if VEGF regulation of MMPs was mediated via Notch signaling and to determine how Notch regulation of MMPs influenced endothelial cell morphogenesis.
Methods and Results
We assessed the relationship between VEGF and Notch signaling in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Overexpression of VEGF-induced Notch4 and the Notch ligand, Dll4, activated Notch signaling, and altered endothelial cell morphology in a fashion similar to that induced by Notch activation. Expression of a secreted Notch antagonist (Notch1 decoy) suppressed VEGF-mediated activation of endothelial Notch signaling and endothelial morphogenesis. We demonstrate that Notch mediates VEGF-induced matrix metalloprotease activity via induction of MMP9 and MT1-MMP expression and activation of MMP2. Introduction of a MMP inhibitor blocked Notch-mediated endothelial morphogenesis. In mice, analysis of VEGF-induced dermal angiogenesis demonstrated that the Notch1 decoy reduced perivascular MMP9 expression.
Taken together, our data demonstrate that Notch signaling can act downstream of VEGF signaling to regulate endothelial cell morphogenesis via induction and activation of specific MMPs. In a murine model of VEGF-induced dermal angiogenesis, Notch inhibition led to reduced MMP9 expression.
Notch receptors are important mediators of cell fate during embryogenesis, but their role in adult physiology, particularly in postnatal angiogenesis, remains unknown. Of the Notch receptors, only Notch1 and Notch4 are expressed in vascular endothelial cells. Here we show that blood flow recovery and postnatal neovascularization in response to hindlimb ischemia in haploinsufficient global or endothelial-specific Notch1+/- mice, but not Notch4-/- mice, were impaired compared with wild-type mice. The expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in response to ischemia was comparable between wild-type and Notch mutant mice, suggesting that Notch1 is downstream of VEGF signaling. Treatment of endothelial cells with VEGF increases presenilin proteolytic processing, γ-secretase activity, Notch1 cleavage, and Hes-1 (hairy enhancer of split homolog-1) expression, all of which were blocked by treating endothelial cells with inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase Akt or infecting endothelial cells with a dominant-negative Akt mutant. Indeed, inhibition of γ-secretase activity leads to decreased angiogenesis and inhibits VEGF-induced endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and survival. Overexpression of the active Notch1 intercellular domain rescued the inhibitory effects of γ-secretase inhibitors on VEGF-induced angiogenesis. These findings indicate that the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway mediates γ-secretase and Notch1 activation by VEGF and that Notch1 is critical for VEGF-induced postnatal angiogenesis. These results suggest that Notch1 may be a novel therapeutic target for improving angiogenic response and blood flow recovery in ischemic limbs.
angiogenesis; endothelium; ischemia; vasculature
The discovery that Notch, a key regulator of cell fate determination, is functional in the vasculature has greatly improved our understanding of differentiation and specialization of vessels. Notch signaling has been proven to be critical for arterial specification, sprouting angiogenesis, and vessel maturation. In newly forming vascular sprouts, Notch promotes the distinction between the leading “tip” endothelial cell and the growing “stalk” cell, the endothelial cells that eventually form a new capillary. Notch signaling has also been implicated in vessel stability by regulating vascular mural cell function. More recently, macrophages carrying an activated Notch have been implicated in shaping the course of new sprout formation. Tumor vessels abide by similar principles and use Notch signaling in similar ways. An exciting discovery, made by several researchers, shows that blocking Notch function in tumor vasculature provides a means by which to suppress tumor growth. The authors discuss the developmental and physiological role of Notch in the vasculature and apply this knowledge to an overview of how Notch targeting in the tumor environment can affect tumor angiogenesis and growth.
Notch; VEGF; Dll4; sprouting angiogenesis
Notch and its ligands play critical roles in cell fate determination. Expression of Notch and ligand in vascular endothelium and defects in vascular phenotypes of targeted mutants in the Notch pathway have suggested a critical role for Notch signaling in vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. However, the angiogenic signaling that controls Notch and ligand gene expression is unknown. We show here that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) but not basic fibroblast growth factor can induce gene expression of Notch1 and its ligand, Delta-like 4 (Dll4), in human arterial endothelial cells. The VEGF-induced specific signaling is mediated through VEGF receptors 1 and 2 and is transmitted via the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway but is independent of mitogen-activated protein kinase and Src tyrosine kinase. Constitutive activation of Notch signaling stabilizes network formation of endothelial cells on Matrigel and enhances formation of vessel-like structures in a three-dimensional angiogenesis model, whereas blocking Notch signaling can partially inhibit network formation. This study provides the first evidence for regulation of Notch/Delta gene expression by an angiogenic growth factor and insight into the critical role of Notch signaling in arteriogenesis and angiogenesis.
The Notch signaling pathway is critically involved in cell fate decisions during development of many tissues and organs. In the present study we employed in vivo and cell culture models to elucidate the role of Notch signaling in wound healing. The healing of full-thickness dermal wounds was significantly delayed in Notch antisense transgenic mice and in normal mice treated with γ-secretase inhibitors that block proteolytic cleavage and activation of Notch. In contrast, mice treated with a Notch ligand Jagged peptide showed significantly enhanced wound healing compared to controls. Activation or inhibition of Notch signaling altered the behaviors of cultured vascular endothelial cells, keratinocytes and fibroblasts in a scratch wound healing model in ways consistent with roles for Notch signaling in wound healing functions all three cell types. These results suggest that Notch signaling plays important roles in wound healing and tissue repair, and that targeting the Notch pathway might provide a novel strategy for treatment of wounds and for modulation of angiogenesis in other pathological conditions.
The Notch signaling pathway is a critical component of vascular formation and morphogenesis in both development and disease. Compelling evidence indicates that Notch signaling is required for the induction of arterial-cell fate during development and for the selection of endothelial tip and stalk cells during sprouting angiogenesis. In mammals, two of the four Notch receptors (Notch1 and Notch4) and three of the five Notch ligands (Jagged1, Dll1, and Dll4) are predominantly expressed in vascular endothelial cells and are important for many aspects of vascular biology. During arterial cell-fate selection and angiogenesis, the roles of Notch1 and Notch4 are thought to be similar, and the function of Dll4 is well-characterized. However, the molecular mechanisms that determine the functional similarities and differences of Notch ligands in vascular endothelial cells remain largely unknown; consequently, additional research is needed to elucidate the ligand-specific functions and mechanisms associated with Notch activation in the vascular endothelium. Results from recent studies indicate that Dll1 and Dll4 have distinct roles in the specification and maintenance of arterial cell identity, while Dll4 and Jagged1 have opposing functions in tip- and stalk-cell selection during sprouting angiogenesis. This review will focus on the newly discovered, distinct functions of several Notch ligands in the regulation of blood vessel formation and will provide perspectives for future research in the field.
Notch is a critical regulator of angiogenesis and arterial specification. We show that ectopic expression of activated Notch1 induces endothelial morphogenesis in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) in a VEGFR-1-dependent manner. Notch1-mediated upregulation of VEGFR-1 in HUVEC increased their responsiveness to the VEGFR-1 specific ligand, Placental Growth Factor (PlGF). In mice and human endothelial cells, inhibition of Notch signaling resulted in decreased VEGFR-1 expression during VEGF-A-induced neovascularization. In summary, we show that Notch1 plays a role in endothelial cells by regulating VEGFR-1, a function that may be important for physiological and pathological angiogenesis.
Notch receptors are transmembrane receptors that regulate cell fate decisions. There are four Notch receptors in mammals. Upon binding to members of the Delta and Jagged family of transmembrane proteins, Notch is cleaved and the Notch intracellular domain (NICD) is released. NICD then translocates to the nucleus, where it associates with the CBF-1, Suppressor of Hairless, and Lag-2 (CSL) and Mastermind-Like (MAML) proteins. This complex activates the transcription of Notch target genes, such as Hairy Enhancer of Split (Hes) and Hes-related with YRPF motif (Hey). Notch signaling is critical for the regulation of mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. Misexpression of Notch in skeletal tissue indicates a role as an inhibitor of skeletal development and postnatal bone formation. Overexpression of Notch inhibits endochondral bone formation and osteoblastic differentiation, causing severe osteopenia. Conditional inactivation of Notch in the skeleton causes an increase in cancellous bone volume and enhanced osteoblastic differentiation. Notch ligands are expressed in the hematopoietic stem cell niche and are critical for the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal. Dysregulation of Notch signaling is the underlying cause of diseases affecting the skeletal tissue, including Alagille syndrome, spondylocostal dysostosis, and possibly, osteosarcoma.
Estrogens play a protective role in coronary artery disease. The mechanisms of action are still poorly understood, although a role for estrogens in stimulation of angiogenesis has been suggested. In several cell types, estrogens modulate the Notch pathway, which is involved in controlling angiogenesis downstream of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). The goal of our study was to establish whether estrogens modulate Notch activity in endothelial cells and the possible consequences on angiogenesis. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were treated with 17β-estradiol (E2) and the effects on Notch signalling were evaluated. E2 increased Notch1 processing as indicated by i) decreased levels of Notch1 transmembrane subunit ii) increased amount of Notch1 in nuclei iii) unaffected level of mRNA. Similarly, E2 increased the levels of the active form of Notch4 without altering Notch4 mRNA. Conversely, protein and mRNA levels of Notch2 were both reduced suggesting transcriptional repression of Notch2 by E2. Under conditions where Notch was activated by upregulation of Delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4) following VEGF-A treatment, E2 caused a further increase of the active form of Notch1, of the number of cells with nuclear Notch1 and of Hey2 mRNA. Estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182.780 antagonized these effects suggesting that E2 modulation of Notch1 is mediated by estrogen receptors. E2 treatment abolished the increase in endothelial cells sprouting caused by Notch inhibition in a tube formation assay on 3D Matrigel and in mouse aortic ring explants. In conclusion, E2 affects several Notch pathway components in HUVECs, leading to an activation of the VEGF-A-Dll4-Notch1 axis and to a modulation of vascular branching when Notch signalling is inhibited. These results contribute to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular protection exerted by estrogens by uncovering a novel role of E2 in the Notch signalling-mediated modulation of angiogenesis.
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.
The healing of a fracture largely depends on the development of a new blood vessel network (angiogenesis), which can be investigated and simulated with mathematical models. The current mathematical models of angiogenesis during fracture healing do not, however, implement all relevant biological scales (e.g. a tissue, cellular and intracellular level) rigorously in a multiscale framework. This study established a novel multiscale platform of angiogenesis during fracture healing (called MOSAIC) which allowed us to investigate the interactions of several influential factors across the different biological scales. We focused on the biological process of tip cell selection, during which a specific cell of a blood vessel, the “tip cell”, is selected to migrate away from the original vessel and lead the new branch. After showing that the MOSAIC model is able to correctly predict the bone regeneration process as well as many experimentally observed aspects of tip cell selection, we have used the model to investigate the influence of stimulating signals on the development of the vasculature and the progression of healing. These results raised an important biological question concerning the criterion for tip cell selection. This study demonstrates the potential of multiscale modeling to contribute to the understanding of biological processes like angiogenesis.
Notch signaling is required for vascular development and tumor angiogenesis. Although inhibition of the Notch ligand Delta-like 4 can restrict tumor growth and disrupt neo-vasculature, the effect of inhibiting Notch receptor function on angiogenesis has yet to be defined. In this study, we generated a soluble form of the Notch1 receptor (Notch1 decoy) and assessed its effect on angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Notch1 decoy expression reduced signaling stimulated by the binding of three distinct Notch ligands to Notch1 and inhibited morphogenesis of endothelial cells overexpressing Notch4. Thus, Notch1 decoy functioned as an antagonist of ligand-dependent Notch signaling. In mice, Notch1 decoy also inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor–induced angiogenesis in skin, establishing a role for Notch receptor function in this process. We tested the effects of Notch1 decoy on tumor angiogenesis using two models: mouse mammary Mm5MT cells overexpressing fibroblast growth factor 4 (Mm5MT-FGF4) and NGP human neuroblastoma cells. Exogenously expressed FGF4 induced Notch ligand expression in Mm5MT cells and xenografts. Notch1 decoy expression did not affect tumorigenicity of Mm5MT-FGF4 cells in vitro but restricted Mm5MT-FGF4 xenograft growth in mice while markedly impairing neoangiogenesis. Similarly, Notch1 decoy expression did not affect NGP cells in vitro but disrupted vessels and decreased tumor viability in vivo. These results strongly suggest that Notch receptor signaling is required for tumor neoangiogenesis and provides a new target for tumor therapy.
Many biological processes, including angiogenesis, involve intercellular feedback and temporal coordination, but inference of these relations is often drowned in low sample sizes or noisy population data. To address this issue, a methodology was developed to statistically study spatial lateral inhibition and temporal synchronization in one specific biological process, endothelial sprouting mediated by Notch signaling. Notch plays an essential role in the development of organized vasculature, but the effects of Notch on the temporal characteristics of angiogenesis are not well understood. Results from this study showed that Notch lateral inhibition operates at distances less than 31μm. Furthermore, combining time lapse microscopy with an intraclass correlation model typically used to analyze family data showed intrinsic temporal synchronization among endothelial sprouts originating from the same microcarrier. Such synchronization was reduced with Notch inhibitors, but was enhanced with the addition of Notch ligands. These results indicate Notch plays a critical role in the temporal regulation of angiogenesis, as well as spatial control, and this method of analysis will be of significant utility in studies of a variety of other biological processes.
Inflammatory neovascularization, such as choroidal neovascularization (CNV), occur in the presence of Notch expressing macrophages. DLL4s anti-angiogenic effect on endothelial cells (EC) has been widely recognized, but its influence on Notch signaling on macrophages and its overall effect in inflammatory neovascularization is not well understood. We identified macrophages and ECs as the main Notch 1 and Notch 4 expressing cells in CNV. A soluble fraction spanning Ser28-Pro525 of the murine extracellular DLL4 domain (sDLL4/28-525) activated the Notch pathway, as it induces Notch target genes in macrophages and ECs and inhibited EC proliferation and vascular sprouting in aortic rings. In contrast, sDLL4/28-525 increased pro-angiogenic VEGF, and IL-1β expression in macrophages responsible for increased vascular sprouting observed in aortic rings incubated in conditioned media from sDLL4/28-525 stimulated macrophages. In vivo, Dll4+/− mice developed significantly more CNV and sDLL4/28-525 injections inhibited CNV in Dll4+/− CD1 mice. Similarly, sDLL4/28-525 inhibited CNV in C57Bl6 and its effect was reversed by a γ-secretase inhibitor that blocks Notch signaling. The inhibition occurred despite increased VEGF, IL-1β expression in infiltrating inflammatory macrophages in sDLL4/28-525 treated mice and might be due to direct inhibition of EC proliferation in laser-induced CNV as demonstrated by EdU labelling in vivo. In conclusion, Notch activation on macrophages and ECs leads to opposing effects in inflammatory neovascularization in situations such as CNV.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10456-012-9290-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Angiogenesis; Notch; DLL4; Eye; Age related macular degeneration; Macrophages
Angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, involves specification of endothelial cells to tip cells and stalk cells, which is controlled by Notch signalling, whereas vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-2 and VEGFR-3 have been implicated in angiogenic sprouting. Surprisingly, we found that endothelial deletion of Vegfr3, but not VEGFR-3-blocking antibodies, postnatally led to excessive angiogenic sprouting and branching, and decreased the level of Notch signalling, indicating that VEGFR-3 possesses passive and active signalling modalities. Furthermore, macrophages expressing the VEGFR-3 and VEGFR-2 ligand VEGF-C localized to vessel branch points, and Vegfc heterozygous mice exhibited inefficient angiogenesis characterized by decreased vascular branching. FoxC2 is a known regulator of Notch ligand and target gene expression, and Foxc2+/−; Vegfr3+/− compound heterozygosity recapitulated homozygous loss of Vegfr3. These results indicate that macrophage-derived VEGF-C activates VEGFR-3 in tip cells to reinforce Notch signalling, which contributes to the phenotypic conversion of endothelial cells at fusion points of vessel sprouts.
The Notch family of cell surface receptors and its ligands are highly conserved proteins that regulate cell fate determination, including those involved in mammalian vascular development. We report that Notch induces VEGFR-3 expression in vitro in human endothelial cells and in vivo in mice. In vitro, Notch in complex with the DNA-binding protein CBF-1/suppressor of hairless/Lag1 (CSL) bound the VEGFR-3 promoter and transactivated VEGFR-3 specifically in endothelial cells. Through induction of VEGFR-3, Notch increased endothelial cell responsiveness to VEGF-C, promoting endothelial cell survival and morphological changes. In vivo, VEGFR-3 was upregulated in endothelial cells with active Notch signaling. Mice heterozygous for null alleles of both Notch1 and VEGFR-3 had significantly reduced viability and displayed midgestational vascular patterning defects analogous to Notch1 nullizygous embryos. We found that Notch1 and Notch4 were expressed in normal and tumor lymphatic endothelial cells and that Notch1 was activated in lymphatic endothelium of invasive mammary micropapillary carcinomas. These results demonstrate that Notch1 and VEGFR-3 interact genetically, that Notch directly induces VEGFR-3 in blood endothelial cells to regulate vascular development, and that Notch may function in tumor lymphangiogenesis.
Notch signaling was evolutionarily conserved and critical for cell-fate determination, differentiation and many other biological processes. Growing evidences suggested that Notch signaling pathway played an important role in the mammalian placental development. All of the mammalian Notch family proteins had been identified in human placenta except Delta-like 3, which appeared to affect the axial skeletal system. However the molecular mechanisms that regulated the Notch signaling pathway remained largely unknown in human placenta. Therefore, additional research was needed to investigate expression pattern of Notch family members and the mechanisms for activation of Notch signaling pathway in human placenta, which might help elucidate the roles of Notch signaling pathway in human placentation. This review would focus on the roles of Notch receptors and ligands in the human placental trophoblasts function and placental angiogenesis. It might hopefully provide perspectives for future research about human placentation of pregnancy complicated by preeclampsia and other placenta associated diseases.
Notch pathway; human; placenta; preeclampsia.
The Notch signaling pathway is essential for normal development due to its role in control of cell differentiation, proliferation and survival. It is also critically involved in tumorigenesis and cancer progression. A key enzyme in the activation of Notch signaling is the gamma-secretase protein complex and therefore, gamma-secretase inhibitors (GSIs)—originally developed for Alzheimer's disease—are now being evaluated in clinical trials for human malignancies. It is also clear that Notch plays an important role in angiogenesis driven by Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A (VEGF-A)—a process instrumental for tumor growth and metastasis. The effect of GSIs on tumor vasculature has not been conclusively determined. Here we report that Compound X (CX), a GSI previously reported to potently inhibit Notch signaling in vitro and in vivo, promotes angiogenic sprouting in vitro and during developmental angiogenesis in mice. Furthermore, CX treatment suppresses tumor growth in a mouse model of renal carcinoma, leads to the formation of abnormal vessels and an increased tumor vascular density. Using a rabbit model of VEGF-A-driven angiogenesis in skeletal muscle, we demonstrate that CX treatment promotes abnormal blood vessel growth characterized by vessel occlusion, disrupted blood flow, and increased vascular leakage. Based on these findings, we propose a model for how GSIs and other Notch inhibitors disrupt tumor blood vessel perfusion, which might be useful for understanding this new class of anti-cancer agents.
Bone marrow (BM) derived vascular precursor cells (BM-PC, endothelial progenitors) are involved in normal and malignant angiogenesis, in ischemia and in wound healing. However, the mechanisms by which BM-PC stimulate the pre-existing endothelial cells at sites of vascular remodelling/recovery, and their contribution towards the formation of new blood vessels are still undisclosed. In the present report, we exploited the possibility that members of the Notch signalling pathway, expressed by BM-PC during endothelial differentiation, might regulate their pro-angiogenic or pro-wound healing properties. We demonstrate that Notch pathway modulates the adhesion of BM-PC to extracellular matrix (ECM) in vitro via regulation of integrin alpha3beta1; and that Notch pathway inhibition on BM-PC impairs their capacity to stimulate endothelial cell tube formation on matrigel and to promote endothelial monolayer recovery following wounding in vitro. Moreover, we show that activation of Notch pathway on BM-PC improved wound healing in vivo through angiogenesis induction. Conversely, inoculation of BM-PC pre-treated with a gamma secretase inhibitor (GSI) into wounded mice failed to induce angiogenesis at the wound site and did not promote wound healing, presumably due to a lower frequency of BM-PC at the wound area. Our data suggests that Notch pathway regulates BM-PC adhesion to ECM at sites of vascular repair and that it also regulates the capacity of BM-PC to stimulate angiogenesis and to promote wound healing. Drug targeting of the Notch pathway on BM-PC may thus represent a novel strategy to modulate neo-angiogenesis and vessel repair.
Angiogenesis is highly sensitive to the composition of the vascular microenvironment, however, our understanding of the structural and matricellular components of the vascular microenvironment that regulate angiogenesis and the molecular mechanisms by which these molecules function remains incomplete. Our previous results described a novel pro-angiogenic activity for Microfibril-Associated Glycoprotein-2 (MAGP-2), but did not address the molecular mechanism(s) by which this is accomplished. We now demonstrate that MAGP-2 promotes angiogenic cell sprouting by antagonizing Notch signaling pathways in endothelial cells. MAGP-2 decreased basal and Jagged1 induced expression from the Notch sensitive Hes-1 promoter in ECs, and blocked Jagged1 stimulated Notch1 receptor processing in transiently transfected 293T cells. Interestingly, inhibition of Notch signaling by MAGP-2 seems to be restricted to ECs since MAGP-2 increased Hes-1 promoter activity and Notch1 receptor processing in heterologous cell types. Importantly, constitutive activation of the Notch signaling pathway blocked the ability of MAGP-2 to promote angiogenic cell sprouting, as well as morphological changes associated with angiogenesis. Collectively, these observations indicate that MAGP-2 promotes angiogenic cell spouting in vitro by antagonizing Notch signaling pathways in ECs.
angiogenesis; MAGP-2; Notch; cancer; matricellular; ECM
Neo-blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), which may involve the activation of pre-existing endothelial cells (EC) and/or the recruitment of bone marrow-derived vascular precursor cells (BM-VPC), is essential for tumor growth. Molecularly, besides the well established roles for Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), recent findings show the Notch signalling pathway, in particular the ligand Delta-like 4 (Dll4), is also essential for adequate tumor angiogenesis; Dll4 inhibition results in impaired, non-functional, angiogenesis and reduced tumor growth. However, the role of BM-VPC in the setting of Notch pathway modulation was not addressed and is the subject of the present report. Here we show that SDF-1 and VEGF, which are produced by tumors, increase Dll4 expression on recruited BM-VPC. Mechanistically, BM-VPC activated, in a Dll4-dependent manner, a transcriptional program on mature EC suggestive of EC activation and stabilization. BM-VPC induced ICAM-2 and Fibronectin expression on EC, an effect that was blocked by a Dll4-specific neutralizing antibody. In vivo, transplantation of BM-VPC with decreased Dll4 into tumor-bearing mice resulted in the formation of microvessels with decreased pericyte coverage and reduced fibronectin expression. Consequently, transplantation of BM-VPC with decreased Dll4 resulted in impaired tumor angiogenesis, increased tumor hypoxia and apoptosis, and decreased tumor growth. Taken together, our data suggests that Dll4 expression by BM-VPC affects their communication with tumor vessel endothelial cells, thereby modulating tumor angiogenesis by affecting vascular stability.
Notch signalling pathways are critical for angiogenesis and endothelial cell (EC) fate; however the mechanisms regulating these processes in the inflamed joint remain to be elucidated. Here, we examine whether Notch signalling mediates vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin 2 (Ang2)-induced vascular function.
Notch-1 intracellular domain (Notch-1 IC), Notch-4 IC, Delta-like-ligand 4, Hes-related transcriptional repressors-1 and 2 (Hrt-1, Hrt-2) mRNA and/or protein expression was measured by Real-time PCR and/or western blot. VEGF/Ang2 induced EC function was assessed using transwell invasion chambers, matrigel tube formation assays and wound repair scratch assays ± Notch-1 siRNA or an γ-secretase inhibitor N-(N-(3,5-Difluorophenacetyl-L-alanly))-S-phenylglycine-t-Butyl Ester (DAPT) in RA synovial explants or human microvascular EC. Interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 were measured by ELISA and MMP2 and 9 by gelatine zymography.
Notch-1 IC and Notch-4 IC protein expressions were demonstrated in RA and psoriatic arthritis synovial biopsies, with minimal expression observed in Osteoarthritis (OA). VEGF and Ang2 induced Notch-1 IC/ Notch-4 IC protein expression in synovial explant cultures and human microvascular EC levels were further potentiated by VEGF/Ang2 stimulation in combination. Notch-1, Delta-like-ligand 4, and Hrt-2 mRNA expression were significantly induced by VEGF and Ang2 alone and in combination. Furthermore VEGF/Ang2-induced EC invasion, angiogenesis and migration were inhibited by Notch-1 siRNA or DAPT. Conditioned media from VEGF/Ang2 stimulated RA synovial explants induced EC tube formation, an effect that was inhibited by DAPT. Finally, DAPT significantly decreased VEGF/Ang2 induced IL-6, IL-8, MMP2 and 9 expressions in RA synovial explants.
Notch-1 mediates VEGF/Ang2-induced angiogenesis and EC invasion in inflammatory arthritis.
Inflammation; Rheumatoid Arthritis; Autoimmune Diseases
Notch signaling controls fundamental aspects of angiogenic blood vessel growth including the selection of sprouting tip cells, endothelial proliferation and arterial differentiation. The E3 ubiquitin ligase Fbxw7 is part of the SCF protein complex responsible for the polyubiquitination and thereby proteasomal degradation of substrates such as Notch, c-Myc and c-Jun. Here, we show that Fbxw7 is a critical regulator of angiogenesis in the mouse retina and the zebrafish embryonic trunk, which we attribute to its role in the degradation of active Notch. Growth of retinal blood vessel was impaired and the Notch ligand Dll4, which is also a Notch target, upregulated in inducible and endothelial cell-specific Fbxw7iECKO mutant mice. The stability of the cleaved and active Notch intracellular domain was increased after siRNA knockdown of the E3 ligase in cultured human endothelial cells. Injection of fbxw7 morpholinos interfered with the sprouting of zebrafish intersegmental vessels (ISVs). Arguing strongly that Notch and not other Fbxw7 substrates are primarily responsible for these phenotypes, the genetic inactivation of Notch pathway components reversed the impaired ISV growth in the zebrafish embryo as well as sprouting and proliferation in the mouse retina. Our findings establish that Fbxw7 is a potent positive regulator of angiogenesis that limits the activity of Notch in the endothelium of the growing vasculature.
Notch-1 belongs to a family of transmembrane receptor proteins that direct the decisions as to various cell fates. After ligand binding, a proteolytic cleavage step occurs and the intracellular part of Notch-1, Notch-1-IC, translocates into the nucleus, where it targets the DNA binding protein RBP-Jκ/CBF1. RBP-Jκ mediates repression through recruitment of a histone deacetylase-containing complex. The Notch-1-IC/RBP-Jκ complex overcomes repression and activates the transcription of Notch target genes. We have identified a novel domain in Notch-1-IC, the EP domain, which is indispensable for full transcriptional activation. This transactivation domain is localized adjacent to the ankyrin repeats of Notch-1-IC. In cotransfection experiments, Notch-1-IC-mediated transcriptional activation was inhibited by E1A12S and p53, two proteins, which interfere with the function of the common coactivator p300. Protein-protein interaction assays demonstrated the association of Notch-1-IC and the CH3 region of p300. In addition, the interaction of mammalian Notch-1-IC with p300 was destabilized after deletion of the EP domain of Notch-1-IC. Based on physical interaction with Notch-1-IC and coactivator functions of p300, we propose a model for Notch-1-mediated gene regulation via p300.
Notch is a highly conserved transmembrane receptor that determines cell fate. Notch signaling denotes cleavage of the Notch intracellular domain, its translocation to the nucleus, and subsequent activation of target gene transcription. Involvement of Notch signaling in several cancers is well known, but its role in melanoma remains poorly characterized. Here we show that the Notch1 pathway is activated in human melanoma. Blocking Notch signaling suppressed whereas constitutive activation of the Notch1 pathway enhanced primary melanoma cell growth both in vitro and in vivo yet had little effect on metastatic melanoma cells. Activation of Notch1 signaling enabled primary melanoma cells to gain metastatic capability. Furthermore, the oncogenic effect of Notch1 on primary melanoma cells was mediated by β-catenin, which was upregulated following Notch1 activation. Inhibiting β-catenin expression reversed Notch1-enhanced tumor growth and metastasis. Our data therefore suggest a β-catenin–dependent, stage-specific role for Notch1 signaling in promoting the progression of primary melanoma.
Notch signaling regulates vascular development. However, the implication of the Notch ligand Delta-like 4 (Dll4) in postischemic angiogenesis remains unclear.
We investigated the role of Dll4/Notch signaling in reparative angiogenesis using a mouse model of ischemia.
Methods and Results
We found Dll4 weakly expressed in microvascular endothelial cells of normoperfused muscles. Conversely, Dll4 is upregulated following ischemia and localized at the forefront of sprouting capillaries. We analyzed the effect of inhibiting endogenous Dll4 by intramuscular injection of an adenovirus encoding the soluble form of Dll4 extracellular domain (Ad-sDll4). Dll4 inhibition caused the formation of a disorganized, low-perfused capillary network in ischemic muscles. This structural abnormality was associated to delayed blood flow recovery and muscle hypoxia and degeneration. Analysis of microvasculature at early stages of repair revealed that Dll4 inhibition enhances capillary sprouting in a chaotic fashion and causes excessive leukocyte infiltration of ischemic muscles. Furthermore, Dll4 inhibition potentiated the elevation of the leukocyte chemoattractant CXCL1 (chemokine [C-X-C motif] ligand 1) following ischemia, without altering peripheral blood levels of stromal cell–derived factor-1 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. In cultured human monocytes, Dll4 induces the transcription of Notch target gene Hes-1 and inhibits the basal and tumor necrosis factor-α-stimulated production of interleukin-8, the human functional homolog of murine CXCL1. The inhibitory effect of Dll4 on interleukin-8 was abolished by DAPT, a Notch inhibitor, or by coculturing activated human monocytes with Ad-sDll4–infected endothelial cells.
Dll4/Notch interaction is essential for proper reparative angiogenesis. Moreover, Dll4/Notch signaling regulates sprouting angiogenesis and coordinates the interaction between inflammation and angiogenesis under ischemic conditions.
Dll4; Notch signaling; angiogenesis; inflammation; ischemia