Clare Ulyatt

University of Leeds, Leeds, ENG, United Kingdom

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Publications (3)9.52 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) is an essential cytokine that regulates endothelial function and angiogenesis. VEGF-A binding to endothelial receptor tyrosine kinases such as VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 triggers cellular responses including survival, proliferation and new blood vessel sprouting. Increased levels of a soluble VEGFR1 splice variant (sFlt-1) correlate with endothelial dysfunction in pathologies such as pre-eclampsia; however the cellular mechanism(s) underlying the regulation and function of sFlt-1 are unclear. Here, we demonstrate the existence of a biphasic stress response in endothelial cells, using serum deprivation as a model of endothelial dysfunction. The early phase is characterized by a high VEGFR2:sFlt-1 ratio, which is reversed in the late phase. A functional consequence is a short-term increase in VEGF-A-stimulated intracellular signaling. In the late phase, sFlt-1 is secreted and deposited at the extracellular matrix. We hypothesized that under stress, increased endothelial sFlt-1 levels reduce VEGF-A bioavailability: VEGF-A treatment induces sFlt-1 expression at the cell surface and VEGF-A silencing inhibits sFlt-1 anchorage to the extracellular matrix. Treatment with recombinant sFlt-1 inhibits VEGF-A-stimulated in vitro angiogenesis and sFlt-1 silencing enhances this process. In this response, increased VEGFR2 levels are regulated by the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase and PKB/Akt signaling pathways and increased sFlt-1 levels by the ERK1/2 signaling pathway. We conclude that during serum withdrawal, cellular sensing of environmental stress modulates sFlt-1 and VEGFR2 levels, regulating VEGF-A bioavailability and ensuring cell survival takes precedence over cell proliferation and migration. These findings may underpin an important mechanism contributing to endothelial dysfunction in pathological states.
    Experimental Cell Research 07/2012; 318(18):2297-311. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of hypoxia on endothelial cell function and response to growth factors is unknown. Here, we tested the hypothesis that hypoxia re-programs endothelial function by modulating vascular endothelial growth factor receptor levels which in turn alter intracellular signaling and cell function. Hypoxia stimulated VEGF-A and VEGFR1 expression but decreased VEGFR2 levels in endothelial cells. During hypoxia, plasma membrane VEGFR1 levels were elevated whereas VEGFR2 levels were depleted. One functional consequence of hypoxia is a reduction in VEGF-A-stimulated and VEGFR2-regulated intracellular signaling including lowered endothelial nitric oxide synthase activation. Venous, arterial and capillary endothelial cells subjected to hypoxia all exhibited reduced cell migration in response to VEGF-A. A mechanistic explanation is that VEGFR1:VEGFR2 ratio is substantially increased during hypoxia to block VEGF-A-stimulated and VEGFR2-regulated endothelial responses to maximize cell viability and recovery.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2011; 404(3):774-9. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) is an essential receptor tyrosine kinase that regulates mammalian vascular development and embryogenesis but its function is not well understood. Herein, we present evidence whereby endothelial VEGFR1 is largely resident within the Golgi apparatus but translocates to the plasma membrane via a calcium-regulated process. Primary human endothelial cells reveal differing VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 intracellular distribution and dynamics. The major proportion of the full-length VEGFR1 membrane protein was resident within the Golgi apparatus in primary endothelial cells. Whereas VEGFR2 displayed down-regulation in response to VEGF-A, VEGFR1 was not significantly affected arguing for a significant intracellular pool that was inaccessible to extracellular VEGF-A. This intracellular VEGFR1 pool showed significant co-distribution with key Golgi residents. Brefeldin A caused VEGFR1 Golgi fragmentation consistent with redistribution to the endoplasmic reticulum. Metabolic labeling experiments and microscopy using domain-specific VEGFR1 antibodies indicated that the mature processed VEGFR1 species and an integral membrane protein was resident within Golgi apparatus. Cytosolic calcium ions play a key role in VEGFR1 trafficking as treatment with either VEGF-A, histamine, thrombin, thapsigargin or A23187 ionophore caused VEGFR1 redistribution from the Golgi apparatus to small punctate vesicles and plasma membrane. We thus propose a model whereby the balance of VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 plasma membrane levels dictate either negative or positive endothelial signaling to influence vascular physiology.
    Experimental Cell Research 02/2009; 315(5):877-89. · 3.56 Impact Factor