Functional Importance of a Proteoglycan Co-Receptor in Pathologic Lymphangiogenesis
Rationale: Lymphatic vessel growth is mediated by major pro-lymphangiogenic factors such as VEGF-C and -D, among other endothelial effectors. Heparan sulfate is a linear polysaccharide expressed on proteoglycan core proteins on cell-membranes and matrix, playing roles in angiogenesis, although little is known regarding any function(s) in lymphatic remodeling in vivo.
Objective: To explore the genetic basis and mechanisms whereby heparan sulfate proteoglycans mediate pathologic lymphatic remodeling.
Methods and Results: Lymphatic endothelial deficiency in the major heparan sulfate biosynthetic enzyme N-deacetylase/N-sulfotransferase-1 (Ndst1; involved in glycan-chain sulfation) was associated with reduced lymphangiogenesis in pathologic models, including spontaneous neoplasia. Mouse mutants demonstrated tumor-associated lymphatic vessels with apoptotic nuclei. Mutant lymphatic endothelia demonstrated impaired mitogen (Erk) and survival (Akt) pathway signaling as well as reduced VEGF-C mediated protection from starvation-induced apoptosis. Lymphatic endothelial specific Ndst1 deficiency (in Ndst1f/fProx1+/CreERT2 mice) was sufficient to inhibit VEGF-C dependent lymphangiogenesis. Lymphatic heparan sulfate deficiency reduced phosphorylation of the major lymphatic growth receptor VEGFR-3 in response to multiple VEGF-C species. Syndecan-4 was the dominantly expressed heparan sulfate proteoglycan in mouse lymphatic endothelia, and pathologic lymphangiogenesis was impaired in Sdc4(-/-) mice. On the lymphatic cell surface, VEGF-C induced robust association between syndecan-4 and VEGFR-3 which was sensitive to glycan disruption. Moreover, VEGFR-3 mitogen and survival signaling was reduced in the setting of Ndst1 or Sdc4 deficiency.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate the genetic importance of heparan sulfate and the major lymphatic proteoglycan syndecan-4 in pathologic lymphatic remodeling. This may introduce novel future strategies to alter pathologic lymphatic-vascular remodeling.
- lymphatic capillary
- endothelial cell growth
- vascular endothelial growth factor receptor
- Received February 8, 2016.
- Revision received May 23, 2016.
- Accepted May 25, 2016.
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