Experimental cell research

Disintegrin causes proteolysis of beta-catenin and apoptosis of endothelial cells. Involvement of cell-cell and cell-ECM interactions in regulating cell viability.

PMID 12729800


Disintegrins, the snake venom-derived arginine-glycine-aspartic acid-containing peptides, have been demonstrated to inhibit angiogenesis through induction of endothelial cell apoptosis. However, it is not clear how a disintegrin causes endothelial apoptosis. In this study, we elucidated the action mechanism of disintegrin in causing endothelial apoptosis by using rhodostomin as a tool. We showed that cell detachment was observed at the early stage of rhodostomin treatment. It was initiated through the blockade by integrin alphanubeta3 and was accelerated by a mechanical stretch from neighboring cells. Both rhodostomin and poly(HEME) induced a higher percentage of cells at G2-M phase, the cleavage of beta-catenin and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase during apoptosis, indicating that cell detachment is a prerequisite for rhodostomin-induced apoptosis. Moreover, pp125(FAK) phosphorylation and actin cytoskeleton were affected upon rhodostomin treatment. The activation of caspase-3 but not that of caspase-9 was detected after rhodostomin treatment. In addition, general caspase inhibitors inhibited the cleavage of beta-catenin and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, and DNA fragmentation, whereas they did not prevent cell shape change or detachment. According to these results, we concluded that disintegrin-induced endothelial apoptosis is a complex process, not merely caused by a blockade of endothelial integrin alphanubeta3 but also by an accompanied shape change and mechanical stretches among cells.