Vascular cell

Changes in expression of VE-cadherin and MMPs in endothelial cells: Implications for angiogenesis.

PMID 21349163


The mechanism of cell-cell contact dependent regulation of pericellular proteolysis in angiogenesis was examined by studying the expression of MMPs using isolated HUVECs in culture. Zymography, Immunoblot and RT-PCR analysis showed that the production and secretion of matrixmetalloproteinase-2 and matrixmetalloproteinase-9 by HUVECs in culture were high when they remain as individual cells and significantly decreased during later stages of culture when cells developed cell-cell contact and tubular network-like structure. As MMPs decreased there was significant upregulation of VE-cadherin in cells undergoing angiogenic transition. Investigations to understand the signaling pathways downstream of VE-cadherin showed a relatively high level of β-catenin in the nucleus of endothelial cells in culture during initial stages and decrease in its levels in the nucleus, associated with an increase in the cytosol during later stages of culture. The distribution of β-catenin was found to be regulated by Tyr/Ser phosphorylation status of this protein. Cell-cell contact dependent downregulation of MMPs during angiogenesis was also observed in experiments using proangiogenic substances which caused a rapid rate of downregulation of MMP-2 and MMP-9 and absence of downregulation of MMPs when treated with anti-angiogenic agents.