CCBE1 Enhances Lymphangiogenesis via ADAMTS3-Mediated VEGF-C Activation
Background—Hennekam lymphangiectasia-lymphedema syndrome (OMIM 235510) is a rare autosomal recessive disease, which is associated with mutations in the collagen- and calcium-binding EGF domains 1 (CCBE1) gene. Because of the striking phenotypic similarity of embryos lacking either the Ccbe1 gene or the lymphangiogenic growth factor Vegfc gene, we searched for CCBE1 interactions with the VEGF-C growth factor signaling pathway, which is critical in embryonic and adult lymphangiogenesis.
Methods and Results—By analyzing VEGF-C produced by CCBE1-transfected cells, we found that while CCBE1 itself does not process VEGF-C, it promotes proteolytic cleavage of the otherwise poorly active 29/31-kDa form of VEGF-C by the A disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin motifs-3 (ADAMTS3) protease, resulting in the mature 21/23-kDa form of VEGF-C, which induces increased VEGF-C receptor signaling. Adeno-associated viral vector (AAV) mediated transduction of CCBE1 into mouse skeletal muscle enhanced lymphangiogenesis and angiogenesis induced by AAV-VEGF-C.
Conclusions—These results identify ADAMTS3 as a VEGF-C activating protease and reveal a novel type of regulation of a vascular growth factor by a protein that enhances its proteolytic cleavage and activation. The results suggest CCBE1 is a potential therapeutic tool for the modulation of lymphangiogenesis and angiogenesis in a variety of diseases that involve the lymphatic system, such as lymphedema or lymphatic metastasis.
- Hennekam Syndrome
- growth factors and cytokines
- Received December 9, 2013.
- Revision received February 10, 2014.
- Accepted February 18, 2014.