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Scientific reports

Loss of cortactin causes endothelial barrier dysfunction via disturbed adrenomedullin secretion and actomyosin contractility.


PMID 27357373

Abstract

Changes in vascular permeability occur during inflammation and the actin cytoskeleton plays a crucial role in regulating endothelial cell contacts and permeability. We demonstrated recently that the actin-binding protein cortactin regulates vascular permeability via Rap1. However, it is unknown if the actin cytoskeleton contributes to increased vascular permeability without cortactin. As we consistently observed more actin fibres in cortactin-depleted endothelial cells, we hypothesised that cortactin depletion results in increased stress fibre contractility and endothelial barrier destabilisation. Analysing the contractile machinery, we found increased ROCK1 protein levels in cortactin-depleted endothelium. Concomitantly, myosin light chain phosphorylation was increased while cofilin, mDia and ERM were unaffected. Secretion of the barrier-stabilising hormone adrenomedullin, which activates Rap1 and counteracts actomyosin contractility, was reduced in plasma from cortactin-deficient mice and in supernatants of cortactin-depleted endothelium. Importantly, adrenomedullin administration and ROCK1 inhibition reduced actomyosin contractility and rescued the effect on permeability provoked by cortactin deficiency in vitro and in vivo. Our data suggest a new role for cortactin in controlling actomyosin contractility with consequences for endothelial barrier integrity.