Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription Mediate Fibroblast Growth Factor-Induced Vascular Endothelial Morphogenesis

Department of Pathology, Laboratory Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, USA.
Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 9.28). 02/2009; 69(4):1668-77. DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-6385
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The fibroblast growth factors (FGF) play diverse roles in development, wound healing, and angiogenesis. The intracellular signal transduction pathways, which mediate these pleiotropic activities, remain incompletely understood. We show here that the proangiogenic factors FGF2 and FGF8b can activate signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) in mouse microvascular endothelial cells (EC). Both FGF2 and FGF8b activate STAT5 and to a lesser extent STAT1, but not STAT3. The FGF2-dependent activation of endothelial STAT5 was confirmed in vivo with the Matrigel plug angiogenesis assay. In tissue samples of human gliomas, a tumor type wherein FGF-induced angiogenesis is important, STAT5 is detected in tumor vessel EC nuclei, consistent with STAT5 activation. By forced expression of constitutively active or dominant-negative mutant STAT5A in mouse brain ECs, we further show that STAT5 activation is both necessary and sufficient for FGF-induced cell migration, invasion, and tube formation, which are key events in vascular endothelial morphogenesis and angiogenesis. In contrast, STAT5 is not required for brain EC mitogenesis. The cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases Src and Janus kinase 2 (Jak2) both seem to be involved in the activation of STAT5, as their inhibition reduces FGF2- and FGF8b-induced STAT5 phosphorylation and EC tube formation. Constitutively active STAT5A partially restores tube formation in the presence of Src or Jak2 inhibitors. These observations show that FGFs use distinct signaling pathways to induce angiogenic phenotypes. Together, our findings implicate the FGF-Jak2/Src-STAT5 cascade as a critical angiogenic FGF signaling pathway.

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