Objective: Deleted in malignant brain tumors 1 (DMBT1) belongs to the scavenger receptor cysteine-rich superfamily of proteins and is implicated in innate immunity, cell polarity, and differentiation. Here we studied the role of DMBT1 in endothelial cells.
Methods and results: DMBT1 was secreted into the extracellular matrix (ECM) by endothelial cells in vitro and in situ and the presence of DMBT1 in the ECM increased endothelial cell adherence. Endothelial cell-derived DMBT1 associated with galectin-3 (coprecipitation), and human recombinant DMBT1 bound EGF, vascular endothelial growth factor and Delta-like (Dll) 4 (specific ELISAs). Compared to cells from wild-type mice, endothelial cells from DMBT1(-/-) mice demonstrated reduced migration, proliferation, and tube formation. In vivo recovery from hindlimb ischemia was attenuated in DMBT1(-/-) animals as was vascular endothelial growth factor -induced endothelial sprouting from isolated aortic rings; the latter response could be rescued by the addition of recombinant DMBT1. The Notch pathway is involved in multiple aspects of vascular development, including arterial-venous differentiation and we found that endothelial cells from DMBT1(-/-) mice expressed more EphrinB2 than cells from wild-type mice. Levels of Dll1, Dll4, Hes1, Hey1, and EphB4, on the other hand, were decreased.
Conclusions: Taken together, the results of this study indicate that DMBT1 functions as an important endothelium-derived ECM protein that is able to bind angiogenic factors and promote adhesion, migration, proliferation, and angiogenesis as well as vascular repair. Mechanistically, DMBT1 interacts with galectin-3 and modulates the Notch signaling pathway as well as the differential expression of ephrin-B2 and EphB4.