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Cell Stress Chaperones. 2003 Spring;8(1):37-52.

Integrin alphavbeta3, requirement for VEGFR2-mediated activation of SAPK2/p38 and for Hsp90-dependent phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase in endothelial cells activated by VEGF.

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Centre de recherche en cancérologie de l'Université Laval, L'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, 9 rue McMahon, Québec, G1R 2J6, Canada.


Endothelial cell migration, a key process in angiogenesis, requires the coordinated integration of motogenic signals elicited by the adhesion of endothelial cells to extracellular matrices and by angiogenic cytokines such as the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In this study, we found that addition of VEGF to human umbilical vein endothelial cells cultivated on vitronectin triggers a synergistic interaction between the VEGF receptor VEGFR2 and the clustered integrin receptor alphavbeta3. The interaction between VEGFR2 and alphavbeta3 is required for full phosphorylation of VEGFR2 and to drive the activation of motogenic pathways involving focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and stress-activated protein kinase-2/p38 (SAPK2/p38). The signal emanating from the VEGFR2 and alphavbeta3 interaction and leading to SAPK2/p38 activation proceeds directly from VEGFR2. The chaperone Hsp90 is found in a complex that coprecipitates with inactivated VEGFR2, and the association is increased by VEGF and decreased by geldanamycin, a specific inhibitor of Hsp90-mediated events. Geldanamycin also impairs the phosphorylation of FAK that results from the interaction between VEGFR2 and alphavbeta3, and this is accompanied by an inhibition of the recruitment of vinculin to VEGFR2. We conclude that a necessary cross talk should occur between VEGFR2 and the integrin alphavbeta3, to transduce the VEGF signals to SAPK2/p38 and FAK and that Hsp90 is instrumental in the building up of focal adhesions by allowing the phosphorylation of FAK and the recruitment of vinculin to VEGFR2.

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