Computational Model of Gab1/2-Dependent VEGFR2 Pathway to Akt Activation

PLoS One. 2013 Jun 21;8(6):e67438. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067438. Print 2013.

Abstract

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) signal transduction is central to angiogenesis in development and in pathological conditions such as cancer, retinopathy and ischemic diseases. However, no detailed mass-action models of VEGF receptor signaling have been developed. We constructed and validated the first computational model of VEGFR2 trafficking and signaling, to study the opposing roles of Gab1 and Gab2 in regulation of Akt phosphorylation in VEGF-stimulated endothelial cells. Trafficking parameters were optimized against 5 previously published in vitro experiments, and the model was validated against six independent published datasets. The model showed agreement at several key nodes, involving scaffolding proteins Gab1, Gab2 and their complexes with Shp2. VEGFR2 recruitment of Gab1 is greater in magnitude, slower, and more sustained than that of Gab2. As Gab2 binds VEGFR2 complexes more transiently than Gab1, VEGFR2 complexes can recycle and continue to participate in other signaling pathways. Correspondingly, the simulation results show a log-linear relationship between a decrease in Akt phosphorylation and Gab1 knockdown while a linear relationship was observed between an increase in Akt phosphorylation and Gab2 knockdown. Global sensitivity analysis demonstrated the importance of initial-concentration ratios of antagonistic molecular species (Gab1/Gab2 and PI3K/Shp2) in determining Akt phosphorylation profiles. It also showed that kinetic parameters responsible for transient Gab2 binding affect the system at specific nodes. This model can be expanded to study multiple signaling contexts and receptor crosstalk and can form a basis for investigation of therapeutic approaches, such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), overexpression of key signaling proteins or knockdown experiments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Enzyme Activation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 11 / genetics
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 11 / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 / genetics
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 / metabolism*

Substances

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • GAB1 protein, human
  • GAB2 protein, human
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • KDR protein, human
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 11