A deficiency of uPAR alters endothelial angiogenic function and cell morphology

Vasc Cell. 2011 May 2;3(1):10. doi: 10.1186/2045-824X-3-10.

Abstract

The angiogenic potential of a cell requires dynamic reorganization of the cytoskeletal architecture that involves the interaction of urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) with the extracellular matrix. This study focuses on the effect of uPAR deficiency (uPAR-/-) on angiogenic function and associated cytoskeletal organization. Utilizing murine endothelial cells, it was observed that adhesion, migration, proliferation, and capillary tube formation were altered in uPAR-/- cells compared to wild-type (WT) cells. On a vitronectin (Vn) matrix, uPAR-/- cells acquired a "fried egg" morphology characterized by circular actin organization and lack of lamellipodia formation. The up-regulation of β1 integrin, FAK(P-Tyr925), and paxillin (P-Tyr118), and decreased Rac1 activation, suggested increased focal adhesions, but delayed focal adhesion turnover in uPAR-/- cells. This accounted for the enhanced adhesion, but attenuated migration, on Vn. VEGF-enriched Matrigel implants from uPAR-/- mice demonstrated a lack of mature vessel formation compared to WT mice. Collectively, these results indicate that a uPAR deficiency leads to decreased angiogenic functions of endothelial cells.