Angiogenin is a potent angiogenic factor that binds to endothelial cells and is endocytosed and rapidly translocated to the nucleus where it is concentrated in the nucleolus and binds to DNA. Angiogenin also activates cell-associated proteases, induces cell invasion and migration, stimulates cell proliferation, and organizes cultured cells to form tubular structures. The intracellular signaling pathways that mediate these various cellular responses are not well understood. Here we report that angiogenin induces transient phosphorylation of extracellular signal-related kinase1/2 (Erk1/2) in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Angiogenin does not affect the phosphorylation status of stress-associated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal kinase (SAPK/JNK) and p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases. PD98059--a specific inhibitor of MAP or Erk kinase 1 (MEK 1), the upstream kinase that phosphorylates Erk1/2--abolishes angiogenin-induced Erk phosphorylation and cell proliferation without affecting nuclear translocation of angiogenin. In contrast, neomycin, a known inhibitor of nuclear translocation and cell proliferation, does not interfere with angiogenin-induced Erk1/2 phosphorylation. These data indicate that both intracellular signaling pathways and direct nuclear functions of angiogenin are required for angiogenin-induced cell proliferation and angiogenesis.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.