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J Biol Chem. 2011 Mar 11;286(10):8055-66. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.192641. Epub 2011 Jan 6.

Angiopoietin-1/Tie2 signal augments basal Notch signal controlling vascular quiescence by inducing delta-like 4 expression through AKT-mediated activation of beta-catenin.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center Research Institute, Fujishirodai 5-7-1, Suita, Osaka 565-8565, Japan.


Angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) regulates both vascular quiescence and angiogenesis through the receptor tyrosine kinase Tie2. We and another group previously showed that Ang1 and Tie2 form distinct signaling complexes at cell-cell and cell-matrix contacts. We further demonstrated that the former up-regulates Notch ligand delta-like 4 (Dll4) only in the presence of cell-cell contacts. Because Dll4/Notch signal restricts sprouting angiogenesis and promotes vascular stabilization, we investigated the mechanism of how the Ang1/Tie2 signal induces Dll4 expression to clarify the role of the Dll4/Notch signal in Ang1/Tie2 signal-mediated vascular quiescence. Under confluent endothelial cells, the basal Notch signal was observed. Ang1, moreover, induced Dll4 expression and production of the Notch intracellular domain (NICD). Ang1 stimulated transcriptional activity of β-catenin through phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT-mediated phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β). Correspondingly, the GSK3β inhibitor up-regulated Dll4, whereas depletion of β-catenin by siRNA blocked Ang1-induced Dll4 expression, indicating the indispensability of β-catenin in Ang1-mediated up-regulation of Dll4. In addition, Dll4 expression by the GSK3β inhibitor was only observed in confluent cells, and was impeded by DAPT, a γ-secretase inhibitor, implying requirement of the Notch signal in β-catenin-dependent Dll4 expression. Consistently, we found that either Ang1 or NICD up-regulates Dll4 through the RBP-J binding site within intron 3 of the DLL4 gene and that β-catenin forms a complex with NICD/RBP-J to enhance Dll4 expression. Ang1 induced the deposition of extracellular matrix that is preferable for basement membrane formation through Dll4/Notch signaling. Collectively, the Ang1/Tie2 signal potentiates basal Notch signal controlling vascular quiescence by up-regulating Dll4 through AKT-mediated activation of β-catenin.

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