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Biochem J. 2011 May 1;435(3):609-18. doi: 10.1042/BJ20100580.

Neuropilin-1 mediates PDGF stimulation of vascular smooth muscle cell migration and signalling via p130Cas.

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Centre for Cardiovascular Science and Medicine, Department of Medicine, The Rayne Institute, University College London, 5 University Street, London WC1E 6JJ, UK.


NRP1 (neuropilin-1) is a co-receptor for members of the VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) family in endothelial cells, but is increasingly implicated in signalling induced by other growth factors. NRP1 is expressed in VSMCs (vascular smooth muscle cells), but its function and the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. The present study aimed to determine the role of NRP1 in the migratory response of HCASMCs (human coronary artery smooth muscle cells) to PDGF (platelet-derived growth factor), and to identify the signalling mechanisms involved. NRP1 is highly expressed in HAoSMCs (human aortic smooth muscle cells) and HCASMCs, and modified in VSMCs by CS (chondroitin sulfate)-rich O-linked glycosylation at Ser612. HCASMC migration induced by PDGF-BB and PDGF-AA was inhibited by NRP1 siRNA (small interfering RNA), and by adenoviral overexpression of an NRP1 mutant lacking the intracellular domain (Ad.NRP1ΔC). NRP1 co-immunoprecipitated with PDGFRα (PDGF receptor α), and immunofluorescent staining indicated that NRP1 and PDGFRα co-localized in VSMCs. NRP1 siRNA also inhibited PDGF-induced PDGFRα activation. NRP1-specific siRNA, Ad.NRP1ΔC and removal of CS glycans using chondroitinase all inhibited PDGF-BB and -AA stimulation of tyrosine phosphorylation of the adapter protein, p130Cas (Cas is Crk-associated substrate), with little effect on other major signalling pathways, and p130Cas knockdown inhibited HCASMC migration. Chemotaxis and p130Cas phosphorylation induced by PDGF were inhibited by chondroitinase, and, additionally, adenoviral expression of a non-glycosylatable NRP1S612A mutant inhibited chemotaxis, but not p130Cas phosphorylation. These results indicate a role for NRP1 and NRP1 glycosylation in mediating PDGF-induced VSMC migration, possibly by acting as a co-receptor for PDGFRα and via selective mobilization of a novel p130Cas tyrosine phosphorylation pathway.

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