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Microvasc Res. 2008 Mar;75(2):188-201. Epub 2007 Oct 17.

PECAM-1 isoform-specific functions in PECAM-1-deficient brain microvascular endothelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53792-4673, USA.


Platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM-1) is alternatively spliced generating eight isoforms that only differ in the length of their cytoplasmic domain. Multiple isoforms of PECAM-1 are present in the endothelium and their expression levels are regulated during vascular development and angiogenesis. However, the functional significance of PECAM-1 isoforms during these processes remains largely unknown. We recently showed that mouse brain endothelial (bEND) cells prepared from PECAM-1-deficient (PECAM-1-/-) mice differ in their cell adhesive and migratory properties compared to PECAM-1+/+ bEND cells. Here we demonstrate that the restoration of PECAM-1 expression in these cells affects their adhesive and migratory properties in an isoform-specific manner. Expression of Delta14&15 PECAM-1, the predominant isoform present in the mouse endothelium, in PECAM-1-/- bEND cells activated MAPK/ERKs, disrupted adherens junctions, and enhanced cell migration and capillary morphogenesis in Matrigel. In contrast, expression of Delta15 PECAM-1 in PECAM-1-/- bEND cells had minimal effects on their activation of MAPK/ERKs, migration, and capillary morphogenesis. The effects of PECAM-1 on cell adhesive and migratory properties were mediated in an isoform-specific manner, at least in part, through its interactions with intracellular signaling proteins, including SHP-2 and Src. These results suggest that the impact of PECAM-1 on EC adhesion, migration, and capillary morphogenesis is modulated by alternative splicing of its cytoplasmic domain.

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