microRNA-21 (miR-21) is the most commonly upregulated miRNA in solid tumors. This cancer-associated microRNA (oncomiR) regulates various downstream effectors associated with tumor pathogenesis during all stages of carcinogenesis. In this study, we analyzed the function of miR-21 in noncancer cells of the tumor microenvironment to further evaluate its contribution to tumor progression. We report that the expression of miR-21 in cells of the tumor immune infiltrate, and in particular in macrophages, was responsible for promoting tumor growth. Absence of miR-21 expression in tumor- associated macrophages (TAMs), caused a global rewiring of their transcriptional regulatory network that was skewed toward a proinflammatory angiostatic phenotype. This promoted an antitumoral immune response characterized by a macrophage-mediated improvement of cytotoxic T-cell responses through the induction of cytokines and chemokines, including IL-12 and C-X-C motif chemokine 10. These effects translated to a reduction in tumor neovascularization and an induction of tumor cell death that led to decreased tumor growth. Additionally, using the carrier peptide pH (low) insertion peptide, we were able to target miR-21 in TAMs, which decreased tumor growth even under conditions where miR-21 expression was deficient in cancer cells. Consequently, miR-21 inhibition in TAMs induced an angiostatic and immunostimulatory activation with potential therapeutic implications.
Mahnaz Sahraei, Balkrishna Chaube, Yuting Liu, Jonathan Sun, Alanna Kaplan, Nathan L. Price, Wen Ding, Stanley Oyaghire, Rolando García-Milian, Sameet Mehta, Yana K. Reshetnyak, Raman Bahal, Paolo Fiorina, Peter M. Glazer, David L. Rimm, Carlos Fernández-Hernando, Yajaira Suárez
The majority of patients with diabetic macular edema (DME), the most common cause of vision loss in working-age Americans, do not respond adequately to current therapies targeting VEGFA. Here, we show that expression of angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4), a HIF-1–regulated gene product, is increased in the eyes of diabetic mice and patients with DME. We observed that ANGPTL4 and VEGF act synergistically to destabilize the retinal vascular barrier. Interestingly, while ANGPTL4 modestly enhanced tyrosine phosphorylation of VEGF receptor 2, promotion of vascular permeability by ANGPTL4 was independent of this receptor. Instead, we found that ANGPTL4 binds directly to neuropilin 1 (NRP1) and NRP2 on endothelial cells (ECs), leading to rapid activation of the RhoA/ROCK signaling pathway and breakdown of EC-EC junctions. Treatment with a soluble fragment of NRP1 (sNRP1) prevented ANGPTL4 from binding to NRP1 and blocked ANGPTL4-induced activation of RhoA as well as EC permeability in vitro and retinal vascular leakage in diabetic animals in vivo. In addition, sNRP1 reduced the stimulation of EC permeability by aqueous fluid from patients with DME. Collectively, these data identify the ANGPTL4/NRP/RhoA pathway as a therapeutic target for the treatment of DME.
Akrit Sodhi, Tao Ma, Deepak Menon, Monika Deshpande, Kathleen Jee, Aumreetam Dinabandhu, Jordan Vancel, Daoyuan Lu, Silvia Montaner
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) positively affect the outcome of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Given that DHA metabolism by cytochrome P450 and soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) enzymes affects retinal angiogenesis and vascular stability we investigated the role of sEH in a mouse model of ROP. In wild-type mice, hyperoxia elicited the tyrosine nitration and inhibition of the sEH and decreased generation of the DHA-derived diol 19,20-dihydroxydocosapentaenoic acid (DHDP). Correspondingly in a murine model of ROP, sEH–/– mice developed a larger central avascular zone and peripheral pathological vascular tuft formation than their wild-type littermates. Astrocytes were the cells most affected by sEH deletion and hyperoxia increased astrocyte apoptosis. In rescue experiments 19,20-DHDP prevented astrocyte loss by targeting the mitochondrial membrane to prevent the hyperoxia-induced dissociation of presenilin-1 (PS-1) and PS-1 associated protein (PSAP) to attenuate PARP1 activation and mitochondrial DNA damage. Therapeutic intravitreal administration of 19,20-DHDP not only suppressed astrocyte loss but also reduced pathological vascular tuft formation in sEH–/– mice. Our data indicate that sEH activity is required for mitochondrial integrity and retinal astrocyte survival in ROP. Moreover, 19,20-DHDP may be more effective than DHA as a nutritional supplement at preventing retinopathy in preterm infants.
Jiong Hu, Sofia Iris Bibli, Janina Wittig, Sven Zukunft, Jihong Lin, Hans-Peter Hammes, Rüdiger Popp, Ingrid Fleming
During developmental angiogenesis blood vessels grow and remodel to ultimately build a hierarchical vascular network. Whether and how cell death signaling molecules contribute to blood vessel formation is still not well understood. Caspase-8 (Casp-8), a key protease in the extrinsic cell death-signaling pathway, regulates both cell death via apoptosis and necroptosis. Here we show that expression of Casp-8 in endothelial cells (ECs) was required for proper postnatal retina angiogenesis. EC specific Casp-8 knockout pups (Casp-8ECko) showed reduced retina angiogenesis, as the loss of Casp-8 reduced EC proliferation, sprouting and migration independent of its cell death function. Instead, the loss of Casp-8 caused hyperactivation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) downstream of receptor-interacting serine/threonine- protein kinase 3 (RIPK3) and destabilization of VE-cadherin at EC junctions. In a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR), resembling retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), loss of Casp-8 in ECs was beneficial, as pathological neovascularization was reduced in Casp-8ECko pups. Taken together, we describe that Casp-8 acts in a cell-death independent manner in ECs to regulate the formation of the retina vasculature and that Casp-8 in ECs is mechanistically involved in the pathophysiology of ROP.
Nathalie Tisch, Aida Freire-Valls, Rosario Yerbes, Isidora Paredes, Silvia La Porta, Xiaohong Wang, Rosa Martín-Pérez, Laura Castro, Wendy Wei-Lynn Wong, Leigh Coultas, Boris Strilic, Hermann-Josef Gröne, Thomas Hielscher, Carolin Mogler, Ralf Adams, Peter Heiduschka, Lena Claesson-Welsh, Massimiliano Mazzone, Abelardo López-Rivas, Thomas Schmidt, Hellmut G. Augustin, Carmen Ruiz de Almodovar
The stimulator of interferon genes (STING) signaling pathway is a critical link between innate and adaptive immunity, and induces anti-tumor immune responses. STING is expressed in vasculatures, but its role in tumor angiogenesis has not been elucidated. Here we investigated STING-induced tumor vascular remodeling and the potential of STING-based combination immunotherapy. Endothelial STING expression was correlated with enhanced T-cell infiltration and prolonged survival in human colon and breast cancer. Intratumoral STING activation with STING agonists (cGAMP or RR-CDA) normalized tumor vasculatures in implanted and spontaneous cancers, but not in STING-deficient mice. These were mediated by upregulation of type I/II interferon genes and vascular stabilizing genes (e.g., Angpt1, Pdgfrb, and Col4a). STING in non-hematopoietic cells is as important as STING in hematopoietic cells to induce a maximal therapeutic efficacy of exogenous STING agonist. Vascular normalizing effects of STING agonists were dependent on type I interferon signaling and CD8+ T cells. Notably, STING-based immunotherapy was maximally effective when combined with VEGFR2 blockade and/or immune checkpoint blockade (αPD-1 or αCTLA-4), leading to complete regression of immunotherapy-resistant tumors. Our data show that intratumoral STING activation can normalize tumor vasculature and the tumor microenvironment, providing a rationale for combining STING-based immunotherapy and anti-angiogenic therapy.
Hannah Yang, Won Suk Lee, So Jung Kong, Chang Gon Kim, Joo Hoon Kim, Sei Kyung Chang, Sewha Kim, Gwangil Kim, Hong Jae Chon, Chan Kim
Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a potent lipid mediator with various biological functions mediated through six G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), LPA1–6. Previous studies have demonstrated that LPA-Gα12/Gα13 signaling plays an important role in embryonic vascular development. However, the responsible LPA receptors and underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we show a critical role of LPA4 and LPA6 in developmental angiogenesis. In mice, Lpa4;Lpa6 double knockout (DKO) embryos were lethal due to global vascular deficiencies, and endothelial cell (EC)-specific Lpa4;Lpa6 DKO retinas had impaired sprouting angiogenesis. Mechanistically, LPA activated the transcriptional regulators YAP and TAZ through LPA4/LPA6-mediated Gα12/Gα13-Rho-ROCK signaling in ECs. YAP/TAZ knockdown increased β-catenin- and Notch intracellular domain (NICD)-mediated endothelial expression of the Notch ligand delta-like 4 (DLL4). Fibrin gel sprouting assay revealed that LPA4/LPA6, Gα12/Gα13, or YAP/TAZ knockdown consistently blocked EC sprouting, which was rescued by a Notch inhibitor. Of note, the inhibition of Notch signaling also ameliorated impaired retinal angiogenesis in EC-specific Lpa4;Lpa6 DKO mice. Overall, these results suggest that the Gα12/Gα13-coupled receptors LPA4 and LPA6 synergistically regulate endothelial Dll4 expression through YAP/TAZ activation. This could in part account for the mechanism of YAP/TAZ-mediated developmental angiogenesis. Our findings provide a novel insight into the biology of GPCR-activated YAP/TAZ.
Daisuke Yasuda, Daiki Kobayashi, Noriyuki Akahoshi, Takayo Ohto-Nakanishi, Kazuaki Yoshioka, Yoh Takuwa, Seiya Mizuno, Satoru Takahashi, Satoshi Ishii
Combined germline and somatic second hit inactivating mutations of the RASA1 gene, which encodes a negative regulator of the Ras signaling pathway, cause blood and lymphatic vascular lesions in the human autosomal dominant vascular disorder capillary malformation-arteriovenous malformation (CM-AVM). How RASA1 mutations in endothelial cells (EC) result in vascular lesions in CM-AVM is unknown. Here, using different murine models of RASA1-deficiency, we found that RASA1 was essential for the survival of EC during developmental angiogenesis in which primitive vascular plexuses are remodeled into hierarchical vascular networks. RASA1 was required for EC survival during developmental angiogenesis because it was necessary for export of collagen IV from EC and deposition in vascular basement membranes. In the absence of RASA1, dysregulated Ras mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signal transduction in EC resulted in impaired folding of collagen IV and its retention in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) leading to EC death. Remarkably, the chemical chaperone, 4-phenylbutyric acid, and small molecule inhibitors of MAPK and 2-oxoglutarate dependent collagen IV modifying enzymes rescued ER retention of collagen IV and EC apoptosis and resulted in normal developmental angiogenesis. These findings have important implications with regards an understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of CM-AVM and possible means of treatment.
Di Chen, Joyce Teng, Paula North, Philip E. Lapinski, Philip D. King
Impaired lymphangiogenesis is a complication of chronic complex diseases, including diabetes. VEGF-C/VEGFR3 signaling promotes lymphangiogenesis, but how this pathway is affected in diabetes remains poorly understood. We previously demonstrated that loss of epsins 1 and 2 in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) prevented VEGF-C–induced VEGFR3 from endocytosis and degradation. Here, we report that diabetes attenuated VEGF-C–induced lymphangiogenesis in corneal micropocket and Matrigel plug assays in WT mice but not in mice with inducible lymphatic-specific deficiency of epsins 1 and 2 (LEC-iDKO). Consistently, LECs isolated from diabetic LEC-iDKO mice elevated in vitro proliferation, migration, and tube formation in response to VEGF-C over diabetic WT mice. Mechanistically, ROS produced in diabetes induced c-Src–dependent but VEGF-C–independent VEGFR3 phosphorylation, and upregulated epsins through the activation of transcription factor AP-1. Augmented epsins bound to and promoted degradation of newly synthesized VEGFR3 in the Golgi, resulting in reduced availability of VEGFR3 at the cell surface. Preclinically, the loss of lymphatic-specific epsins alleviated insufficient lymphangiogenesis and accelerated the resolution of tail edema in diabetic mice. Collectively, our studies indicate that inhibiting expression of epsins in diabetes protects VEGFR3 against degradation and ameliorates diabetes-triggered inhibition of lymphangiogenesis, thereby providing a novel potential therapeutic strategy to treat diabetic complications.
Hao Wu, H.N. Ashiqur Rahman, Yunzhou Dong, Xiaolei Liu, Yang Lee, Aiyun Wen, Kim H.T. To, Li Xiao, Amy E. Birsner, Lauren Bazinet, Scott Wong, Kai Song, Megan L. Brophy, M. Riaj Mahamud, Baojun Chang, Xiaofeng Cai, Satish Pasula, Sukyoung Kwak, Wenxia Yang, Joyce Bischoff, Jian Xu, Diane R. Bielenberg, J. Brandon Dixon, Robert J. D’Amato, R. Sathish Srinivasan, Hong Chen
Protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR-2), an airway epithelial pattern recognition receptor (PRR), participates in the genesis of house dust mite–induced (HDM-induced) asthma. Here, we hypothesized that lung endothelial cells and proangiogenic hematopoietic progenitor cells (PACs) that express high levels of PAR-2 contribute to the initiation of atopic asthma. HDM extract (HDME) protease allergens were found deep in the airway mucosa and breaching the endothelial barrier. Lung endothelial cells and PACs released the Th2-promoting cytokines IL-1α and GM-CSF in response to HDME, and the endothelium had PAC-derived VEGF-C–dependent blood vessel sprouting. Blockade of the angiogenic response by inhibition of VEGF-C signaling lessened the development of inflammation and airway remodeling in the HDM model. Reconstitution of the bone marrow in WT mice with PAR-2–deficient bone marrow also reduced airway inflammation and remodeling. Adoptive transfer of PACs that had been exposed to HDME induced angiogenesis and Th2 inflammation with remodeling similar to that induced by allergen challenge. Our findings identify that lung endothelium and PACs in the airway sense allergen and elicit an angiogenic response that is central to the innate nonimmune origins of Th2 inflammation.
Kewal Asosingh, Kelly Weiss, Kimberly Queisser, Nicholas Wanner, Mei Yin, Mark Aronica, Serpil Erzurum
Although nonmalignant stromal cells facilitate tumor growth and can occupy up to 90% of a solid tumor mass, better strategies to exploit these cells for improved cancer therapy are needed. Here, we describe a potent MMAE-linked antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) targeting tumor endothelial marker 8 (TEM8, also known as ANTXR1), a highly conserved transmembrane receptor broadly overexpressed on cancer-associated fibroblasts, endothelium, and pericytes. Anti-TEM8 ADC elicited potent anticancer activity through an unexpected killing mechanism we term DAaRTS (drug activation and release through stroma), whereby the tumor microenvironment localizes active drug at the tumor site. Following capture of ADC prodrug from the circulation, tumor-associated stromal cells release active MMAE free drug, killing nearby proliferating tumor cells in a target-independent manner. In preclinical studies, ADC treatment was well tolerated and induced regression and often eradication of multiple solid tumor types, blocked metastatic growth, and prolonged overall survival. By exploiting TEM8+ tumor stroma for targeted drug activation, these studies reveal a drug delivery strategy with potential to augment therapies against multiple cancer types.
Christopher Szot, Saurabh Saha, Xiaoyan M. Zhang, Zhongyu Zhu, Mary Beth Hilton, Karen Morris, Steven Seaman, James M. Dunleavey, Kuo-Sheng Hsu, Guo-Jun Yu, Holly Morris, Deborah A. Swing, Diana C. Haines, Yanping Wang, Jennifer Hwang, Yang Feng, Dean Welsch, Gary DeCrescenzo, Amit Chaudhary, Enrique Zudaire, Dimiter S. Dimitrov, Brad St. Croix
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