Syk is a protein-tyrosine kinase that is widely expressed in haematopoietic cells and involved in coupling activated immunoreceptors to downstream signaling. On the other hand, Syk-deficient mice showed severe petechiae in utero and died shortly after birth. Recently we have shown the expression of Syk in endothelial cells and morphological defects of these cells in embryonic Syk-deficient mice. Here we report that both proliferation and migration of human umbilical vein endothelial cells were severely impaired by adenovirus-mediated expression of Syk dominant negative mutants. Furthermore, a close relationship between Syk kinase activity and extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation was suggested. Our results indicate that Syk plays a critical role in endothelial cell functions, including morphogenesis, cell growth, migration, and survival, and contributes to maintaining vascular integrity in vivo.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.