Expression of the Polyoma Middle T (PyMT) antigen in endothelial cells results in single-step transformation to hemangioma producing malignant cells. To study the mechanism of PyMT transformation, we used the PyMT induced mouse brain endothelial cell line, bEND.3, expressing constitutively active and dominant negative mutants of the small GTPase Rac. The bEND.3 cell phenotype of tumorigenesis, loss of normal growth control and formation of cysts rather than capillary tubes in fibrin gels was reversed by expression of dominant negative Rac. The mechanism of N17 Rac action in blocking the endothelial cell transformant, PyMT, did not involve effects of Rac on the actin cytoskeleton since this component of the bEND.3 cell phenotype was not affected. Furthermore, the PyMT induced activation of the plasminogen activator (PA)/plasmin system was not affected by Rac inhibition. Inhibition of the downstream effecters of Rac, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) and p70(S6k), which are known to be constitutively activated by PyMT transformation, inhibited bEND. cell proliferation and cyst formation in fibrin gels even in cells expressing V12 constitutively active Rac, but they did not restore capillary tube formation. These results demonstrate that middle T antigen induced endothelial cell transformation requires signal transduction by Rac. The downstream Rac effecters, PI3-K and p70(S6k), mediate PyMT/Rac effects on cell proliferation and cyst formation, but other unknown effecters of PyMT are required for the cytoskeletal changes and activation of the PA/plasmin system.
- Endothelial cells
- Rho GTPases