FHL-2 Suppresses VEGF-Induced Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase/Akt Activation via Interaction With Sphingosine Kinase-1
Objective— In the functional screening of a human heart cDNA library to identify a novel antiangiogenic factor, the prime candidate gene was "four-and-a-half LIM only protein-2" (FHL-2). The goal of this study is to clear the mechanism of antiangiogenic signaling of FHL-2 in endothelial cells (ECs).
Methods and Results— Overexpressed FHL-2 strongly inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced EC migration. In the angiogenic signaling, we focused on sphingosine kinase-1 (SK1), which produces sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a bioactive sphingolipid, as a potent angiogenic mediator in ECs. Immunoprecipitation and immunostaining analysis showed that FHL-2 might bind to SK1. Importantly, overexpression of FHL-2 in ECs inhibited VEGF-induced SK1 activity, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity, and phosphorylation of Akt and eNOS. In contrast, overexpression of FHL-2 had no effect on S1P-induced Akt phosphorylation. Interestingly, VEGF stimulation decreased the binding of FHL-2 and SK1. Depletion of FHL-2 by siRNA increased EC migration accompanied with SK1 and Akt activation, and increased the expression of VEGF receptor-2 which further enhanced VEGF signaling. Furthermore, injection of FHL-2 mRNA into Xenopus embryos resulted in inhibition of vascular network development, assessed by in situ hybridization with endothelial markers.
Conclusions— FHL-2 may regulate phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt via direct suppression of the SK1-S1P pathway in ECs.