AIP1 Mediates Vascular Endothelial Cell Growth Factor Receptor-3–Dependent Angiogenic and Lymphangiogenic Responses
Objective—To investigate the novel function of ASK1-interacting protein-1 (AIP1) in vascular endothelial cell growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-3 signaling, and VEGFR-3–dependent angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis.
Approach and Results—AIP1, a signaling scaffold protein, is highly expressed in the vascular endothelium. We have previously reported that AIP1 functions as an endogenous inhibitor in pathological angiogenesis by blocking VEGFR-2 activity. Surprisingly, here we observe that mice with a global deletion of AIP1-knockout mice (AIP1-KO) exhibit reduced retinal angiogenesis with less sprouting and fewer branches. Vascular endothelial cell (but not neuronal)–specific deletion of AIP1 causes similar defects in retinal angiogenesis. The reduced retinal angiogenesis correlates with reduced expression in VEGFR-3 despite increased VEGFR-2 levels in AIP1-KO retinas. Consistent with the reduced expression of VEGFR-3, AIP1-KO show delayed developmental lymphangiogenesis in neonatal skin and mesentery, and mount weaker VEGF-C–induced cornea lymphangiogenesis. In vitro, human lymphatic endothelial cells with AIP1 small interfering RNA knockdown, retinal endothelial cells, and lymphatic endothelial cells isolated from AIP1-KO all show attenuated VEGF-C–induced VEGFR-3 signaling. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that AIP1 via vegfr-3–specific miR-1236 increases VEGFR-3 protein expression and that, by directly binding to VEGFR-3, it enhances VEGFR-3 endocytosis and stability.
Conclusion—Our in vivo and in vitro results provide the first insight into the mechanism by which AIP1 mediates VEGFR-3–dependent angiogenic and lymphangiogenic signaling.
- DAB2IP protein, human
- vascular endothelial growth factor A
- vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2
- vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3
- Received September 13, 2013.
- Accepted December 31, 2013.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.