Protein disulfide isomerase A1 as a novel redox sensor in VEGFR2 signaling and angiogenesis

Sheela Nagarkoti, Young Mee Kim, Dipankar Ash, Archita Das, Eric Vitriol, Tracy Ann Read, Seock Won Youn, Varadarajan Sudhahar, Malgorzata McMenamin, Yali Hou, Harriet Boatwright, Ruth Caldwell, David W. Essex, Jaehyung Cho, Tohru Fukai, Masuko Ushio-Fukai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


VEGFR2 signaling in endothelial cells (ECs) is regulated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from NADPH oxidases (NOXs) and mitochondria, which plays an important role in postnatal angiogenesis. However, it remains unclear how highly diffusible ROS signal enhances VEGFR2 signaling and reparative angiogenesis. Protein disulfide isomerase A1 (PDIA1) functions as an oxidoreductase depending on the redox environment. We hypothesized that PDIA1 functions as a redox sensor to enhance angiogenesis. Here we showed that PDIA1 co-immunoprecipitated with VEGFR2 or colocalized with either VEGFR2 or an early endosome marker Rab5 at the perinuclear region upon stimulation of human ECs with VEGF. PDIA1 silencing significantly reduced VEGF-induced EC migration, proliferation and spheroid sprouting via inhibiting VEGFR2 signaling. Mechanistically, VEGF stimulation rapidly increased Cys-OH formation of PDIA1 via the NOX4–mitochondrial ROS axis. Overexpression of “redox-dead” mutant PDIA1 with replacement of the active four Cys residues with Ser significantly inhibited VEGF-induced PDIA1–CysOH formation and angiogenic responses via reducing VEGFR2 phosphorylation. Pdia1+/− mice showed impaired angiogenesis in developmental retina and Matrigel plug models as well as ex vivo aortic ring sprouting model. Study using hindlimb ischemia model revealed that PDIA1 expression was markedly increased in angiogenic ECs of ischemic muscles, and that ischemia-induced limb perfusion recovery and neovascularization were impaired in EC-specific Pdia1 conditional knockout mice. These results suggest that PDIA1 can sense VEGF-induced H2O2 signal via CysOH formation to promote VEGFR2 signaling and angiogenesis in ECs, thereby enhancing postnatal angiogenesis. The oxidized PDIA1 is a potential therapeutic target for treatment of ischemic vascular diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-96
Number of pages20
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Angiogenesis
  • Endothelial cell
  • Protein disulfide isomerase A1
  • Redox signaling
  • Vascular endothelial cell growth factor


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