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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Mar 1;91(5):1677-81.

Nuclear translocation of angiogenin in proliferating endothelial cells is essential to its angiogenic activity.

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  • 1Center for Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences and Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115.


The intracellular pathway of human angiogenin in calf pulmonary artery endothelial (CPAE) cells has been studied by immunofluorescence microscopy. Proliferating CPAE cells specifically endocytose native angiogenin and translocate it to the nucleus, where it accumulates in the nucleoli. Nuclear translocation of angiogenin does not occur in nonproliferative, confluent CPAE cells. These cells were previously found to express an angiogenin-binding protein (AngBP) that was identified as smooth muscle alpha-actin. Exogenous actin, an anti-actin antibody, heparin, and heparinase treatment all inhibit the internalization of angiogenin, suggesting the involvement of cell surface AngBP/actin and heparan sulfate proteoglycans in this process. It has been established that two regions of angiogenin are essential for its angiogenic activity, one is its endothelial cell binding site and the other its catalytic site capable of cleaving RNA. CPAE cells do not internalize four enzymatically active angiogenin derivatives whose cell binding site is modified, but they do internalize two enzymatically inactive mutants whose cell binding site is intact. Thus, the putative cell binding site of angiogenin is necessary for both endocytosis and nuclear translocation, but the catalytic site is not. Three other angiogenic molecules are also translocated to the nucleus of growing CPAE cells. Overall, the results suggest that nuclear translocation of angiogenin and other angiogenic molecules is a critical step in the process of angiogenesis.

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