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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2001 Jun;280(6):L1273-81.

Gas 6 promotes Axl-mediated survival in pulmonary endothelial cells.

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  • 1Pulmonary Center, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


We examined Gas 6-Axl interactions in human pulmonary artery endothelial cells (HPAEC) and in Axl-transduced HPAEC to test Gas 6 function during endothelial cell survival. We identified the 5.0-kb Axl, 4.2-kb Rse, and 2.6-kb Gas 6 mRNAs in HPAEC. Immunoprecipitation and Western blotting confirmed the presence of these proteins. Gas 6 is present in cell-associated and secreted fractions of growth-arrested HPAEC, independent of cell density. In addition, the Axl receptor is constitutively phosphorylated in growth-arrested cultures, and exogenous Gas 6 enhanced Axl phosphorylation threefold. Gas 6 added to growth-arrested HPAEC resulted in a significant increase in cell number (1.5 nM Gas 6 increased cell number 35%). Flow cytometry revealed that Gas 6 treatment resulted in 28% fewer apoptosing cells. Transduction of a full-length Axl cDNA into HPAEC resulted in 54% fewer apoptosing cells after Gas 6 treatment. Collectively, the data demonstrate antiapoptotic activities for Gas 6 in HPAEC and suggest that Gas 6 signaling may be relevant to endothelial cell survival in the quiescent environment of the vessel wall.

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