Essential role of Vav family guanine nucleotide exchange factors in EphA receptor-mediated angiogenesis

Sonja G. Hunter, Guanglei Zhuang, Dana Brantley-Sieders, Wojciech Swat, Christopher W. Cowan, Jin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

88 Scopus citations

Abstract

Angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels are formed from preexisting vasculature, is critical for vascular remodeling during development and contributes to the pathogenesis of diseases such as cancer. Prior studies from our laboratory demonstrate that the EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase is a key regulator of angiogenesis in vivo. The EphA receptor-mediated angiogenic response is dependent on activation of Rfao family GTPase Rac1 and is regulated by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. Here we report the identification of Vav2 and Vav3 as guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) that link the EphA2 receptor to Rho family GTPase activation and angiogenesis. Ephrin-A1 stimulation recruits the binding of Vav proteins to the activated EphA2 receptor. The induced association of EphA receptor and Vav proteins modulates the activity of Vav GEFs, leading to activation of Rac1 GTPase. Overexpression of either Vav2 or Vav3 in primary microvascular endothelial cells promotes Rac1 activation, cell migration, and assembly in response to ephrin-A1 stimulation. Conversely, loss of Vav2 and Vav3 GEFs inhibits Rac1 activation and ephrin-A1-induced angiogenic responses both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, embryonic fibroblasts derived from Vav2-/- Vav3-/- mice fail to spread on an ephrin-A1-coated surface and exhibit a significant decrease in the formation of ephrin-A1-induced lamellipodia and filopodia. These findings suggest that Vav GEFs serve as a molecular link between EphA2 receptors and the actin cytoskeleton and provide an important mechanism for EphA2-mediated angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4830-4842
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Volume26
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006

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