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J Biol Chem. 2001 Nov 2;276(44):40687-92. Epub 2001 Aug 23.

Decorin-mediated signal transduction in endothelial cells. Involvement of Akt/protein kinase B in up-regulation of p21(WAF1/CIP1) but not p27(KIP1).

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  • 1Institute of Physiological Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry, Münster, D-48149 Germany.


Endothelial cells undergoing angiogenesis express decorin, a small multifunctional proteoglycan. We have shown that decorin is causally involved in the formation of capillary-like structures and a decrease in apoptosis in endothelial cells cultured in a collagen lattice. Here we investigate signal transduction pathways mediating the effects of decorin. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction demonstrated that p21 and p27, two inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases, were up-regulated by decorin induction. Decorin also increased protein levels of p21 and caused its translocation into the nucleus. p21 synthesis started 6 h after decorin addition and reached a plateau after 18 h, while cyclin A, which was also induced, peaked at 12 h and declined below basal levels within 24 h. These effects were mediated by the Akt/protein kinase B pathway. Akt phosphorylation at Thr-308 increased 4-fold and at Ser-473 1.4-fold within 10 min after decorin addition. Overexpression of dominant negative Akt inhibited the decorin-mediated induction of p21 and cyclin A, but had no effect on p27. These results show that decorin is a signaling molecule in sprouting endothelial cells where it acts via different pathways, one of them involving Akt/protein kinase B.

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