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Cell Adh Migr. 2007 Oct-Dec;1(4):185-95. Epub 2007 Oct 20.

HoxA5 stabilizes adherens junctions via increased Akt1.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


Normal vascular development and angiogenesis is regulated by coordinated changes in cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) interactions. The Homeobox (Hox) family of transcription factors coordinately regulate expression of matrix degrading proteinases, integrins and ECM components and profoundly impact vascular remodeling. Whereas HoxA5 is down regulated in active angiogenic endothelial cells (EC), sustained expression of HoxA5 induces TSP-2 and blocks angiogenesis. Since HoxA5 is also lacking in EC in proliferating hemangiomas, we investigated whether restoring expression of HoxA5 could normalize hemangioma cell morphology and/or behavior. Sustained expression of HoxA5 in the murine hemangioma cell line (EOMA) reduced their growth in vivo and promoted branching morphogenesis in 3D BM cultures. Moreover, restoring HoxA5 expression increased the retention of beta-catenin in adherens junctions and reduced permeability. In addition we also show that the HoxA5 mediated increase in stability of adherens junctions requires Akt1 activity and introduction of constitutively active myr-Akt in EOMA cells also increased retention of beta-catenin in adherens junctions. Finally we show that HoxA5 increases Akt1 mRNA, protein expression and further enhances Akt activity via a coordinate down regulation of PTEN. Together these results demonstrate a central role for HoxA5 in coordinating a stable vascular phenotype.

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