Biochemical characterization of the novel angiogenic factor EGFL7

  • Two distinct mechanisms contribute to the development of blood vessels: vasculogenesis, which is the de novo formation of vascular structures from progenitor cells, and angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. Angiogenesis is a highly ordered and carefully regulated multi-step process, during which the precise spatio-temporal interaction between endothelial and mural cells, i.e. smooth muscle cells and pericytes, is prerequisite for the formation of a functional blood vessel. The crosstalk between these two latter cell ty pes is mediated indirectly by various secreted growth factors, and directly through cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. The secretory epidermal growth factor-like protein 7 (EGFL7) has been implicated to play an important role in the regulation of smooth muscle and endothelial cell recruitment and vascular tube formation. However, in-depth investigation of the underlying molecular mechanism has so far been hampered by the lack of functional recombinant EGFL7. In this study for the first time full length EGFL7 was successfully expressed as a His 6- tagged fusion protein from insect cells using the Baculovirus expression vector system. Recombinant EGFL7 was purified in a two-step protocol involving ion metal affinity chromatography and gel filtration. Furthermore, recombinant EGFL7 was purified from human embryonic kidney EBN A 293 cells using a similar approach, allowing the production of high amounts of recombinant EGFL7 protein in its native state, with proper post-translational processing and full biological activity. Detailed analysis of the post-translational processing of recombinant EGFL7 and EGFL7-mutants revealed extensive proteolytic processing by protein convertases both at the N- and the C-terminus, the latter being prerequisite for EGFL7 secretion. Furthermore, secreted EGFL7 protein was shown to bind to the extracellular matrix and the responsible heparin-binding domain of EGFL7 was mapped to its N-terminal portion. Purified recombinant EGFL7 protein was tested for its functionality using cell migration assays, cell proliferation studies and in vivo matrigel studies in mice. In the modified Boyden chamber migration assay, recombinant EGFL7 proteins inhibited PDGF-BB-induced smooth muscle cell migration. Moreover, recombinant EGLF7 proteins strongly inhibited PDGF-BB-induced proliferation of smooth muscle cells, while it did not affect VEGF induced proliferation of endothelial cells. When applied in the in vivo matrigel plug assay, EGFL7 proteins induced a strong pro-angiogenic response, comparable with that of VEGF on an equimolar basis. Moreover, EGFL7 expression was strongly induced in endothelial cells in response to VEGF stimulation. These novel findings demonstrate the important function of EGFL7 in angiogenesis and are well in line with previous results. They demonstrate a cell specific action of EGFL7 on the different cell types involved in vessel formation, which is a prerequisite for a regulatory function in cell-to-cell crosstalk. Based on the results described here, the following model can be proposed: VEGF, a known strong initiator of angiogenesis, induces endothelial cell proliferation and migration, allowing the escape from the comparatively rigid structure of a functional vessel to form an angiogenic sprout. At the same time VEGF induces the expression of EGFL7 in endothelial cells. EGFL7 is expressed, proc essed and secreted from these cells. While EGFL7 has no known effect on endothelial cells, it inhibits smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration, providing a mechanism to prevent pre-mature stabilization of the forming vessel. The availability of purified recombinant EGFL7 will be helpful in the detailed characterization of the underlying molecular mechanism of EGFL7 action, including the identification of the putative EGFL7 receptor, and will allow - together with knock-out experiments in mice - the exploration of the additional biological functions of EGFL7. Moreover, considering the strong pro-angiogenic effect of EGFL7 in vivo, it would be also of a great therapeutic interest to investigate its role in the development of tumor vasculature. The insights into these molecular mechanisms might provide a novel approach for the development of anti tumor therapies.

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Author:Srdjan Picuric
Place of publication:Frankfurt am Main
Referee:Werner Müller-EsterlORCiDGND, Robert TampéORCiDGND
Advisor:Werner Müller-Esterl
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of Publication (online):2008/03/05
Year of first Publication:2007
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Granting Institution:Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Date of final exam:2007/11/07
Release Date:2008/03/05
GND Keyword:Blutgefäß; Blutgefäßsystem; Endothel; Zellzyklus
Page Number:82
First Page:1
Last Page:77
Diese Dissertation steht außerhalb der Universitätsbibliothek leider (aus urheberrechtlichen Gründen) nicht im Volltext zur Verfügung, die CD-ROM kann (auch über Fernleihe) bei der UB Frankfurt am Main ausgeliehen werden.
Institutes:Biochemie, Chemie und Pharmazie / Biochemie und Chemie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Weitere biologische Literatur (eingeschränkter Zugriff)
Licence (German):License LogoArchivex. zur Lesesaalplatznutzung § 52b UrhG