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.
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.
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.
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
Radiotherapy is widely used to treat cancer. While rapidly dividing cancer cells are naturally considered the main target of radiotherapy, emerging evidence indicates that radiotherapy also affects endothelial cell functions, and possibly also their angiogenic capacity. In spite of its clinical relevance, such putative anti-angiogenic effect of radiotherapy has not been thoroughly characterized. We have investigated the effect of ionizing radiation on angiogenesis using in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro experimental models in combination with genetic and pharmacological interventions.
Here we show that high doses ionizing radiation locally suppressed VEGF- and FGF-2-induced Matrigel plug angiogenesis in mice in vivo and prevented endothelial cell sprouting from mouse aortic rings following in vivo or ex vivo irradiation. Quiescent human endothelial cells exposed to ionizing radiation in vitro resisted apoptosis, demonstrated reduced sprouting, migration and proliferation capacities, showed enhanced adhesion to matrix proteins, and underwent premature senescence. Irradiation induced the expression of P53 and P21 proteins in endothelial cells, but p53 or p21 deficiency and P21 silencing did not prevent radiation-induced inhibition of sprouting or proliferation. Radiation induced Smad-2 phosphorylation in skin in vivo and in endothelial cells in vitro. Inhibition of the TGF-β type I receptor ALK5 rescued deficient endothelial cell sprouting and migration but not proliferation in vitro and restored defective Matrigel plug angiogenesis in irradiated mice in vivo. ALK5 inhibition, however, did not rescue deficient proliferation. Notch signaling, known to hinder angiogenesis, was activated by radiation but its inhibition, alone or in combination with ALK5 inhibition, did not rescue suppressed proliferation.
These results demonstrate that irradiation of quiescent endothelial cells suppresses subsequent angiogenesis and that ALK5 is a critical mediator of this suppression. These results extend our understanding of radiotherapy-induced endothelial dysfunctions, relevant to both therapeutic and unwanted effects of radiotherapy.
The Delta-Notch pathway is a signal exchanger between adjacent cells to regulate numerous differentiation steps during embryonic development. Blood vessel formation by sprouting angiogenesis requires high expression of the Notch ligand DLL4 in the leading tip cell, while Notch receptors in the trailing stalk cells are activated by DLL4 to achieve strong Notch signaling activity. Upon ligand binding, Notch receptors are cleaved by ADAM proteases and gamma-secretase. This releases the intracellular Notch domain that acts as a transcription factor. There is evidence that also Notch ligands (DLL1, DLL4, JAG1, JAG2) are processed upon receptor binding to influence transcription in the ligand-expressing cell. Thus, the existence of bi-directional Delta-Notch signaling has been proposed. We report here that the Notch ligands DLL1 and JAG1 are processed in endothelial cells in a gamma-secretase-dependent manner and that the intracellular ligand domains accumulate in the cell nucleus. Overexpression of JAG1 intracellular domain (ICD) as well as DLL1-ICD, DLL4-ICD and NOTCH1-ICD inhibited endothelial proliferation. Whereas NOTCH1-ICD strongly repressed endothelial migration and sprouting angiogenesis, JAG1-ICD, DLL1-ICD and DLL4-ICD had no significant effects. Consistently, global gene expression patterns were only marginally affected by the processed Notch ligands. In addition to its effects as a transcription factor, NOTCH1-ICD promotes cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix in a transcription-independent manner. However, JAG1-ICD, DLL1-ICD and DLL4-ICD did not influence endothelial cell adhesion. In summary, reverse signaling of Notch ligands appears to be dispensable for angiogenesis in cellular systems.
During development of the spinal cord, Prox1 controls the balance between proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells via suppression of Notch1 gene expression.
Activation of Notch1 signaling in neural progenitor cells (NPCs) induces self-renewal and inhibits neurogenesis. Upon neuronal differentiation, NPCs overcome this inhibition, express proneural genes to induce Notch ligands, and activate Notch1 in neighboring NPCs. The molecular mechanism that coordinates Notch1 inactivation with initiation of neurogenesis remains elusive. Here, we provide evidence that Prox1, a transcription repressor and downstream target of proneural genes, counteracts Notch1 signaling via direct suppression of Notch1 gene expression. By expression studies in the developing spinal cord of chick and mouse embryo, we showed that Prox1 is limited to neuronal precursors residing between the Notch1+ NPCs and post-mitotic neurons. Physiological levels of Prox1 in this tissue are sufficient to allow binding at Notch1 promoter and they are critical for proper Notch1 transcriptional regulation in vivo. Gain-of-function studies in the chick neural tube and mouse NPCs suggest that Prox1-mediated suppression of Notch1 relieves its inhibition on neurogenesis and allows NPCs to exit the cell cycle and differentiate. Moreover, loss-of-function in the chick neural tube shows that Prox1 is necessary for suppression of Notch1 outside the ventricular zone, inhibition of active Notch signaling, down-regulation of NPC markers, and completion of neuronal differentiation program. Together these data suggest that Prox1 inhibits Notch1 gene expression to control the balance between NPC self-renewal and neuronal differentiation.
Early during development, neural progenitor cells (NPCs) can either proliferate or differentiate into neurons. Thus, generation of the correct number of neurons is governed by a tightly regulated balance between proliferation and differentiation, and disruption of this balance can result in severe developmental deficits, malformations, or cancers. Notch1 is a member of the Notch family of receptors, which make up a highly conserved cell signaling system. Notch1 signaling has been shown to inhibit NPC differentiation and to promote self-renewal, thereby allowing NPCs to divide and progressively generate the enormous number of neurons present in the central nervous system. The molecular mechanism by which NPCs overcome Notch1-mediated inhibition in order to differentiate into neurons, however, is not completely understood. In this study, we show that Prox1, a homeobox transcriptional repressor, plays a fundamental role in the switch to differentiation by suppressing the expression of Notch1 receptor, thereby preventing newly produced neuronal precursors from receiving inhibitory signals from Notch ligands present in neighboring cells. This transcriptional repression may regulate cell cycle exit and differentiation of NPCs as they migrate towards different regions and adopt their final cell fates. We suggest that Prox1 may exert its known influence on embryonic development, organ morphogenesis, and cancer through its ability to counteract Notch1 signaling.
Notch signaling has a critical role in vascular development and morphogenesis. Activation of Notch in endothelial cells led to a senescence-like phenotype with loss of barrier function. Our objective was to understand the molecular pathways mediating this phenotype.
Methods and Results
Human primary endothelial cells increase expression of Notch receptors and ligands during propagation in vitro towards natural senescence. This senescence was induced at low passage with Notch activation. We characterized the pathways activated downstream of Notch signaling. Notch was activated by Dll4 ligand or constitutively active Notch receptors, and measured for cell proliferation, migration, and sprouting. Notch signaling triggered early senescence in low passage cells, characterized by increased p53 and p21 expression. The senescence phenotype was associated with hyperpermeability of the monolayer, with disrupted VE-cadherin and β-catenin levels and localization. Consistent with changes in cell shape and contact, we demonstrate that Notch activation increases myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation by activating Rho kinase. Inhibition of Rho abrogated Notch-induced MLC phosphorylation, and led to enhanced barrier function by reorganizing F-actin to β-catenin containing cell-cell adherens junctions.
Our findings show that RhoA/Rho kinase regulation by Notch signaling in endothelial cells trigger a senescence phenotype associated with endothelial barrier dysfunction.
Notch; endothelial senescence; barrier function; Rho
Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) acts as a key regulator of vascular endothelial homeostasis, angiogenesis, and endothelial dysfunction. However, the underlying mechanism for SIRT1-mediated lung carcinoma angiogenesis remains unknown. Herein, we report that the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide 1 (NAD1)-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 can function as an intrinsic negative modulator of Delta-like ligand 4 (DLL4)/Notch signaling in Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) xenograft-derived vascular endothelial cells (lung cancer-derived ECs).
SIRT1 negatively regulates Notch1 intracellular domain (N1IC) and Notch1 target genes HEY1 and HEY2 in response to Delta-like ligand 4 (DLL4) stimulation. Furthermore, SIRT1 deacetylated and repressed N1IC expression. Quantitative chromatin immunoprecipitation (qChIP) analysis and gene reporter assay demonstrated that SIRT1 bound to one highly conserved region, which was located at approximately −500 bp upstream of the transcriptional start site of Notch1,and repressed Notch1 transcription. Inhibition of endothelial cell growth and sprouting angiogenesis by DLL4/Notch signaling was enhanced in SIRT1-silenced lung cancer-derived EC and rescued by Notch inhibitor DAPT. In vivo, an increase in proangiogenic activity was observed in Matrigel plugs from endothelial-specific SIRT1 knock-in mice. SIRT1 also enhanced tumor neovascularization and tumor growth of LLC xenografts.
Our results show that SIRT1 facilitates endothelial cell branching and proliferation to increase vessel density and promote lung tumor growth through down-regulation of DLL4/Notch signaling and deacetylation of N1IC. Thus, targeting SIRT1 activity or/and gene expression may represent a novel mechanism in the treatment of lung cancer.
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.
Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) is the common pathological basis of
irreversible visual impairment encountered in a variety of chorioretinal
diseases; the pathogenesis of its development is complicated and still
imperfectly understood. Recent studies indicated that delta-like ligand 4
(Dll4), one of the Notch family ligands might participate in the HIF-1α-VEGF
pathway to regulate CNV angiogenesis. But little is known about the influence
and potential mechanism of Dll4/Notch signals on CNV angiogenesis. Real-time
RT-PCR, Western blotting were used to analyze the expression alteration of Dll4,
VEGF and HIF-1α in hypoxic RF/6A cells. Immunofluorescence staining, a
laser-induced rat CNV model and intravitreal injection techniques were used to
confirm the relationships among these molecules in vitro and
in vivo. RPE-RF/6A cell co-culture systems were used to
investigate the effects of Dll4/Notch signals on CNV angiogenesis. We found that
the Dll4 was involved in hypoxia signaling in CNV angiogenesis. Results from the
co-culture system showed that the enhancement of Dll4 expression in RF/6A cells
led to the significantly faster proliferation and stronger tube forming ability,
but inhibited cells migration and invasion across a monolayer of RPE cells in
hypoxic environment, while siRNA-mediated Dll4 silencing caused the opposite
effects. Pharmacological disruption of Notch signaling using gamma-secretase
inhibitor (GSI) produced similar, but not identical effects, to that caused by
the Dll4 siRNA. In addition, the expression of several key molecules involved in
the angiogenesis of CNV was altered in RF/6A cells showing constitutively active
Dll4 expression. These results suggest that Dll4 play an important role in CNV
angiogenesis, which appears to be regulated by HIF-1α and VEGF during the
progression of CNV under hypoxic conditions. Targeting Dll4/Notch signaling may
facilitate further understanding of the mechanisms that underlie CNV
Notch signaling is reported to regulate angiogenesis, interacting with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signaling. HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) also alter Notch signaling in vascular cells, but the mechanism and involvement of Notch and VEGF signaling in statin-mediated angiogenesis remain unclear. Here, we examined how statins activate the endothelial Notch1, and promote angiogenesis and arteriogenesis. We examined blood flow recovery after hindlimb ischemia in wild-type (WT) and Notch1 mutant mice treated with or without pitavastatin (3 mg/kg/day, p.o.). Although VEGF induction was not altered in ischemic limbs, pitavastatin promoted blood flow recovery in ischemic limbs in control mice but not in Notch1 mutant mice. Furthermore, pitavastatin induced endothelial ephrinB2 downstream of Notch1 and increased the density of both capillaries and arterioles in the ischemic limbs of WT but not of Notch1 mutant mice. Pitavastatin (100 nmol/l) rapidly activated γ-secretase and Notch1 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells without VEGF induction, which was suppressed by pharmacological inhibition and knockdown of Akt. Pitavastatin also augmented endothelial proliferation and tube formation on Matrigel, which were suppressed by either γ-secretase inhibition or knockdown of Notch1. Pitavastatin-induced microvascular sprouting was also impaired in Notch1 mutant aortic explants. Taken together, pitavastatin activates Notch1 through Akt-dependent stimulation of γ-secretase in endothelial cells, and thereby increases vasculogenesis without VEGF induction.
Akt; angio/arteriogenesis; endothelial function; Notch signal pathway; statins
Activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK1) is an endothelial-specific member of the TGF-β/BMP receptor family that is inactivated in patients with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT). How ALK1 signaling regulates angiogenesis remains incompletely understood. Here we show that ALK1 inhibits angiogenesis by cooperating with the Notch pathway. Blocking Alk1 signaling during postnatal development in mice leads to retinal hypervascularization and the appearance of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). Combined blockade of Alk1 and Notch signaling further exacerbates hypervascularization, whereas activation of Alk1 by its high-affinity ligand BMP9 rescues hypersprouting induced by Notch inhibition. Mechanistically, ALK1-dependent SMAD signaling synergizes with activated Notch in stalk cells to induce expression of the Notch targets HEY1 and HEY2, thereby repressing VEGF signaling, tip cell formation, and endothelial sprouting. Taken together, these results uncover a direct link between ALK1 and Notch signaling during vascular morpho-genesis that may be relevant to the pathogenesis of HHT vascular lesions.
High levels of pro-angiogenic factors, leptin, IL-1, Notch and VEGF (ligands and receptors), are found in breast cancer, which is commonly correlated with metastasis and lower survival of patients. We have previously reported that leptin induces the growth of breast cancer and the expression of VEGF/VEGFR-2 and IL-1 system. We hypothesized that Notch, IL-1 and leptin crosstalk outcome (NILCO) plays an essential role in the regulation of leptin-mediated induction of proliferation/migration and expression of pro-angiogenic molecules in breast cancer. To test this hypothesis, leptin's effects on the expression and activation of Notch signaling pathway and VEGF/VEGFR-2/IL-1 were determined in mouse (4T1, EMT6 and MMT) breast cancer cells. Remarkably, leptin up-regulated Notch1-4/JAG1/Dll-4, Notch target genes: Hey2 and survivin, together with IL-1 and VEGF/VEGFR-2. RNA knockdown and pharmacological inhibitors of leptin signaling significantly abrogated activity of reporter gene-luciferase CSL (RBP-Jk) promoter, showing that it was linked to leptin-activated JAK2/STAT3, MAPK, PI-3K/mTOR, p38 and JNK signaling pathways. Interestingly, leptin upregulatory effects on cell proliferation/migration and pro-angiogenic factors Notch, IL-1 and VEGF/VEGFR-2 were abrogated by a γ-secretase inhibitor, DAPT, as well as siRNA against CSL. In addition, blockade of IL-1R tI inhibited leptin-induced Notch, Hey2 and survivin as well as VEGF/VEGFR-2 expression. These data suggest leptin is an inducer of Notch (expression/activation) and IL-1 signaling modulates leptin effects on Notch and VEGF/VEGFR-2. We show for the first time that a novel unveiled crosstalk between Notch, IL-1 and leptin (NILCO) occurs in breast cancer. Leptin induction of proliferation/migration and upregulation of VEGF/VEGFR-2 in breast cancer cells were related to an intact Notch signaling axis. NILCO could represent the integration of developmental, pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic signals critical for leptin-induced cell proliferation/migration and regulation of VEGF/VEGFR-2 in breast cancer. Targeting NILCO might help to design new pharmacological strategies aimed at controlling breast cancer growth and angiogenesis.
Manipulation of Notch signaling has led to significant tumor shrinkage as well as recovery from several traumatic and ischemic injury models indicating its potential clinical application. We have tested both an agonist and antagonist of Notch signaling to study the effects of Notch-mediated angiogenesis on spinal cord vascular pathology following traumatic injury. Initial neonatal retinal vascularization assays showed their respective bioactivities in vivo. Mice were treated with either the antagonist Jagged1-Fc chimera (Jag1-Fc) or agonist Notch1 antibody (N1 Ab) immediately following a mid-thoracic contusive injury through an initial jugular bolus and tail vein injections for 3 days post-injury. After 14 days, activating Notch signaling decreased the overall vascular density within the penumbral gray matter compared to controls while maintaining the density of perfused vessels. Inhibiting Notch signaling did not change the density or perfusion of microvessels within the lesion penumbra. Furthermore, neither activation nor inhibition of Notch signaling significantly altered inflammation, hypoxia, and lesion volume in the epicenter and penumbra. Importantly, neither treatment changed locomotor function. In postnatal retinal vascular assays, administration of Jag1-Fc and N1 Ab increased and decreased both tip cell numbers and branch points in each treatment, respectively. However, these agents did not modulate primary CNS EC proliferation in vitro in spite of sufficient Notch ligand expression. We conclude that Notch signaling, while an important part of developmental angiogenesis, may play a lesser role in mediating vascular recovery following traumatic injury to the CNS.
spinal cord injury; Notch; angiogenesis; locomotion; endothelial cell
The migration of endothelial cells has been regarded as a potential target for the treatment of angiogenesis-related diseases. Previously, we demonstrated that norisoboldine (NOR), an alkaloid compound isolated from Radix Linderae, can significantly suppress synovial angiogenesis by selectively inhibiting endothelial cell migration. In this study, we evaluated the importance of various pathways in VEGF-induced endothelial cell migration using specific inhibitor. VEGF-induced endothelial cell migration and sprouting were significantly inhibited by H-89 (an inhibitor of protein kinase A (PKA)) but not by inhibitors of other pathways. NOR markedly suppressed VEGF-induced intracytoplasmic cAMP production and PKA activation and thereby down-regulated the activation of downstream components of the PKA pathway, including enzymes (src, VASP and eNOS) and the transcription factor NF-κB. Moreover, the transcription activation potential of NF-κB, which is related to IκBα phosphorylation and the disruption of the p65/IκBα complex, was reduced by NOR. Meanwhile, NOR selectively inhibited the expression of p-p65 (ser276) but not p-p65 (ser536) or PKAc, indicating that PKAc participates in the regulation of NF-κB by NOR. Co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence assays confirmed that NOR inhibited the formation of the PKAc/p65 complex and thereby decreased p65 (ser276) phosphorylation to prevent p65 binding to DNA. Docking models indicated that the affinity of NOR for PKA was higher than that of the original PKA ligand. Moreover, the fact that H-89 improved Notch1 activation, but DAPT (an inhibitor of Notch) failed to affect PKA activation, suggested that PKA may act on upstream of Notch1. In conclusion, the inhibitory effects of NOR on endothelial cell migration can be attributed to its modulation of the PKA pathway, especially on the processes of p65/IκBα complex disruption and PKAc/p65 complex formation. These results suggest that NOR inhibit VEGF-induced endothelial cell migration via a cAMP-PKA-NF-κB/Notch1 signaling pathway.
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 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.
NOTCH activation has been recently implicated in human breast cancers, associated with a poor prognosis, and tumor-initiating cells are hypothesized to mediate resistance to treatment and disease relapse. To address the role of NOTCH1 in mammary gland development, transformation, and mammary tumor-initiating cell activity, we developed a doxycycline-regulated mouse model of NOTCH1-mediated mammary transformation.
Mammary gland development was analyzed by using whole-mount analysis and by flow cytometry in nulliparous transgenic mice maintained in the presence/absence of doxycycline (or intracellular NOTCH1). Mammary tumors were examined histologically and immunophenotyped by staining with antibodies followed by flow cytometry. Tumors were transplanted into mammary fat pads under limiting dilution conditions, and tumor-initiating cell frequency was calculated. Mammary tumor cells were also plated in vitro in a tumorsphere assay in the presence/absence of doxycycline. RNA was isolated from mammary tumor cell lines cultured in the presence/absence of doxycycline and used for gene-expression profiling with Affymetrix mouse arrays. NOTCH1-regulated genes were identified and validated by using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Mammary tumor-bearing mice were treated with doxycycline to suppress NOTCH1 expression, and disease recurrence was monitored.
Similar to published studies, we show that constitutive expression of human intracellular NOTCH1 in the developing mouse mammary gland inhibits side branching and promotes luminal cell fate. These mice develop mammary adenocarcinomas that express cytokeratin (CK) 8/18. In vivo limiting-dilution analyses revealed that these mammary tumors exhibit functional heterogeneity and harbor a rare (1/2,978) mammary tumor-initiating cell population. With this dox-regulated NOTCH1 mammary tumor model, we demonstrate that NOTCH1 inhibition results in mammary tumor regression in vivo and prevents disease recurrence in four of six tumors tested. Consistent with the in vivo data, NOTCH1 inhibition reduces mammary tumorsphere activity in vitro. We also identify the embryonic stem cell transcription factor Nanog as a novel NOTCH1-regulated gene in tumorspheres and in mouse and human breast cancer cell lines.
These data indicate that NOTCH1 inhibition results in mammary tumor regression in vivo and interferes with disease recurrence. We demonstrate that NOTCH1-transformed mouse mammary tumors harbor a rare mammary tumor-initiating population and that NOTCH1 contributes to mammary tumor-initiating activity. This work raises the possibility that NOTCH therapeutics may target mammary tumor-initiating cells in certain human breast cancer subtypes.
Notch signaling is critical for the development and maintenance of the cardiovasculature, with loss-of-function studies defining roles of Notch1 in the endothelial/hematopoietic lineages. No in vivo studies have addressed complementary gain-of-function strategies within these tissues to define consequences of Notch activation. We developed a transgenic model of Cre recombinase—mediated activation of a constitutively active mouse Notch1 allele (N1ICD+) and studied transgene activation in Tie2-expressing lineages. The in vivo phenotype was compared to effects of Notch1 activation on endothelial tubulogenesis, paracrine regulation of smooth muscle cell proliferation, and hematopoiesis. N1ICD+ embryos showed midgestation lethality with defects in angiogenic remodeling of embryonic and yolk sac vasculature, cardiac development, smooth muscle cell investment of vessels, and hematopoietic differentiation. Angiogenic defects corresponded with impaired endothelial tubulogenesis in vitro following Notch1 activation and paracrine inhibition of smooth muscle cells when grown with Notch1-activated endothelial cells. Flow cytometric analysis of hematopoietic and endothelial precursor populations demonstrated a significant loss of CD71+/Ter119+ populations with an active N1ICD+ allele and a corresponding increase in c-Kit+/CD71 and Flk1+ populations, suggesting a developmental block during the transition between c-Kit— and Ter119-expressing erythroblasts. Cardiovascular lineages are sensitive to an imbalance in Notch signaling, with aberrant activation reflecting a vascular phenotype comparable to a loss-of-function Notch1 mutation.
angiogenesis; endothelium; blood vessels; heart development
In-situ hybridisation studies demonstrate that Notch receptors and ligands are expressed in granulosa cells (GCs) and in the theca layer vasculature of growing follicles. Notch signaling involves cell-to-cell interaction mediated by transmembrane receptors and ligands. This signaling pathway may represent a novel intraovarian regulator of gonadotropin-dependent follicular development to the preovulatory stage. We hypothesized that blocking Notch pathways would disrupt follicular maturation in the mouse ovary.
Hypophysectomized CD21 female mice were administered pregnant mare serum gonadotropin (PMSG) for 3 days to stimulate follicular development. In one experiment, a pan-notch inhibitor, compound E, was initiated 2 days prior to and throughout stimulation (n = 10), while in a second experiment, a humanized phage Dll4 blocking antibody, YW152F, was used (n = 5). After sacrifice, ovarian histology, serum estradiol levels and uterine weights were compared to controls. The ovarian morphology was evaluated with hematoxylin/eosin staining and immunohistochemistry was performed for Notch1, Notch2, Notch3, Notch4, Jagged1, Dll4, platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM) and alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) detection.
We localized specific Notch ligands and receptors in the following structures: Dll4 is specific to theca layer endothelial cells (ECs); Notch1/Notch4 and Jagged1 are expressed in theca layer ECs and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), whereas Notch3 is restricted to VSMCs; Notch2 is expressed mostly on GCs of small follicles. Administration of a pan-Notch inhibitor, compound E, inhibits follicular development to the preovulatory stage (8.5 preovulatory follicles in treatment vs. 3.4 preovulatory follicles in control, p < 0.01; average number per ovary) with significant secondary effects on ovarian and uterine weight and estradiol secretion in a setting of uninhibited vascular proliferation, but disorganized appearance of ECs and VSMCs. Inhibition of endothelial Notch1 function through the inactivation of its ligand Dll4 with the blocking antibody YW152F induces mild disorganisation of follicular vasculature, but has no significant effect on gonadotropin-dependent folliculogenesis.
Our experiments suggest that the complete blockage of the Notch signaling pathway with compound E impairs folliculogenesis and induces disruption of gonadotropin stimulated angiogenesis. It seems the mechanism involves Notch1 and Notch3, specifically, causing the improper assembly of ECs and VSMCs in the theca layer, although the potential role of non-angiogenic Notch signaling, such as Jagged2 to Notch2 in GCs, remains to be elucidated.
Notch; Dll4; Jagged; Folliculogenesis; Ovary; Gamma-secretase inhibitor; YW152F
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
The signaling cascades that direct the morphological differentiation of the vascular system during early embryogenesis are not well defined. Several signaling pathways, including Notch and VEGF signaling, are critical for the formation of the vasculature in the mouse. To further understand the role of Notch signaling during endothelial differentiation and the genes regulated by this pathway, both loss-of-function and gain-of-function approaches were analyzed in vivo.
Conditional transgenic models were used to expand and ablate Notch signaling in the early embryonic endothelium. Embryos with activated Notch1 signaling in the vasculature displayed a variety of defects, and died soon after E10.5. Most notably, the extraembryonic vasculature of the yolk sac displayed remodeling differentiation defects, with greatly enlarged lumens. These phenotypes were distinct from endothelial loss-of-function of RBPJ, a transcriptional regulator of Notch activity. Gene expression analysis of RNA isolated from the yolk sac endothelia of transgenic embryos indicated aberrant expression in a variety of genes in these models. In particular, a variety of secreted factors, including VEGF and TGF-β family members, displayed coordinate expression defects in the loss-of-function and gain-of-function models.
Morphological analyses of the in vivo models confirm and expand the understanding of Notch signaling in directing endothelial development, specifically in the regulation of vessel diameter in the intra- and extraembryonic vasculature. Expression analysis of these in vivo models suggests that the vascular differentiation defects may be due to the regulation of key genes through the Notch-RBPJ signaling axis. A number of these genes regulated by Notch signaling encode secreted factors, suggesting that Notch signaling may mediate remodeling and vessel diameter in the extraembryonic yolk sac via autocrine and paracrine cell communication. We propose a role for Notch signaling in elaborating the microenvironment of the nascent arteriole, suggesting novel regulatory connections between Notch signaling and other signaling pathways during endothelial differentiation.
The homeobox gene TLX1 (for T-cell leukemia homeobox 1, previously known as HOX11) is inappropriately expressed in a major subgroup of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) where it is strongly associated with activating NOTCH1 mutations. Despite the recognition that these genetic lesions cooperate in leukemogenesis, there have been no mechanistic studies addressing how TLX1 and NOTCH1 functionally interact to promote the leukemic phenotype.
Global gene expression profiling after downregulation of TLX1 and inhibition of the NOTCH pathway in ALL-SIL cells revealed that TLX1 synergistically regulated more than 60% of the NOTCH-responsive genes. Structure-function analysis demonstrated that TLX1 binding to Groucho-related TLE corepressors was necessary for maximal transcriptional regulation of the NOTCH-responsive genes tested, implicating TLX1 modulation of the NOTCH-TLE regulatory network. Comparison of the dataset to publicly available biological databases indicated that the TLX1/NOTCH-coregulated genes are frequently targeted by MYC. Gain- and loss-of-function experiments confirmed that MYC was an essential mediator of TLX1/NOTCH transcriptional output and growth promotion in ALL-SIL cells, with TLX1 contributing to the NOTCH-MYC regulatory axis by posttranscriptional enhancement of MYC protein levels. Functional classification of the TLX1/NOTCH-coregulated targets also showed enrichment for genes associated with other human cancers as well as those involved in developmental processes. In particular, we found that TLX1, NOTCH and MYC coregulate CD1B and RAG1, characteristic markers of early cortical thymocytes, and that concerted downregulation of the TLX1 and NOTCH pathways resulted in their irreversible repression.
We found that TLX1 and NOTCH synergistically regulate transcription in T-ALL, at least in part via the sharing of a TLE corepressor and by augmenting expression of MYC. We conclude that the TLX1/NOTCH/MYC network is a central determinant promoting the growth and survival of TLX1+ T-ALL cells. In addition, the TLX1/NOTCH/MYC transcriptional network coregulates genes involved in T cell development, such as CD1 and RAG family members, and therefore may prescribe the early cortical stage of differentiation arrest characteristic of the TLX1 subgroup of T-ALL.
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.