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Oncogene. 2004 Jan 8;23(1):192-200.

Activated Ras induces a proangiogenic phenotype in primary endothelial cells.

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Center for Cell Biology and Cancer Research, Albany Medical College, Albany NY 12208, USA.


Angiogenic factors alter endothelial cell phenotype to promote the formation of new blood vessels, a process critical for a number of normal and pathological conditions. Ras is required for the induction of the angiogenic phenotype in response to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). However, VEGF generates many signals, several of which are not dependent upon Ras activation. Our current study investigates the sufficiency of Ras activation for driving angiogenic responses. An activated Ras(V12) mutant induces prominent membrane ruffling, branching morphogenesis on three-dimensional collagen, DNA synthesis, and cell migration in primary endothelial cells. An upregulation of PI3K/AKT, Erk, and Jnk signaling pathways accompany these phenotypic changes. The inhibition of Erk blocked cell proliferation, but only partially attenuated migration. Blocking PI3K had no effect on DNA synthesis, but caused a modest reduction in cell migration. Lastly, Jnk played a significant role in both the proliferation and migration response. These effects of Ras(V12) are not the result of increased autocrine secretion of VEGF. These data suggest that the acquisition of activating Ras mutations can lead to a proangiogenic conversion in the phenotype of primary endothelial cells. Furthermore, these data raise the possibility that chronic Ras activation in endothelial cells may be sufficient to promote angiogenesis and the development of vascular anomalies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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