Membrane ganglioside enrichment lowers the threshold for vascular endothelial cell angiogenic signaling

Yihui Liu, James McCarthy, Stephan Ladisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Malignant tumor progression depends on angiogenesis, requiring vascular endothelial cell migration, and proliferation, triggered by tumor-derived vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF). We show that gangliosides, which are actively shed by tumor cells and bind to normal cells in the tumor microenvironment, have the potential to sensitize vascular endothelial cells to respond to subthreshold levels of VEGF: Ganglioside enrichment of human umbilical vein vascular endothelial cells (HUVEC) caused very low, normally barely stimulatory, VEGF concentrations to trigger robust VEGF receptor dimerization and autophosphorylation, as well as activation of downstream signaling pathways, and cell proliferation and migration. Thus, by dramatically lowering the threshold for growth factor activation of contiguous normal stromal cells, shed tumor gangliosides may promote tumor progression by causing these normal cells to become increasingly autonomous from growth factor requirements by a process that we term tumor-induced progression of the microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10408-10414
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Volume66
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006

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