Identification of an effective early signaling signature during neo-vasculogenesis in vivo by ex vivo proteomic profiling

PLoS One. 2013 Jun 24;8(6):e66909. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066909. Print 2013.

Abstract

Therapeutic neo-vasculogenesis in vivo can be achieved by the co-transplantation of human endothelial colony-forming progenitor cells (ECFCs) with mesenchymal stem/progenitor cells (MSPCs). The underlying mechanism is not completely understood thus hampering the development of novel stem cell therapies. We hypothesized that proteomic profiling could be used to retrieve the in vivo signaling signature during the initial phase of human neo-vasculogenesis. ECFCs and MSPCs were therefore either transplanted alone or co-transplanted subcutaneously into immune deficient mice. Early cell signaling, occurring within the first 24 hours in vivo, was analyzed using antibody microarray proteomic profiling. Vessel formation and persistence were verified in parallel transplants for up to 24 weeks. Proteomic analysis revealed significant alteration of regulatory components including caspases, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase, DNA protein kinase, human ErbB2 receptor-tyrosine kinase as well as mitogen-activated protein kinases. Caspase-4 was selected from array results as one therapeutic candidate for targeting vascular network formation in vitro as well as modulating therapeutic vasculogenesis in vivo. As a proof-of-principle, caspase-4 and general caspase-blocking led to diminished endothelial network formation in vitro and significantly decreased vasculogenesis in vivo. Proteomic profiling ex vivo thus unraveled a signaling signature which can be used for target selection to modulate neo-vasculogenesis in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / drug effects
  • Blood Vessels / growth & development
  • Blotting, Western
  • Caspase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / drug effects
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / genetics*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation

Substances

  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Caspases

Grant support

This work was supported by the Austrian Research Foundation (FFG, grant N211-NAN; DS), the Adult Stem Cell Research Foundation and a young investigator starting grant of the Medical University of Graz (AR). RR and NAH are fellows of the PhD program Molecular Medicine at the Medical University of Graz. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.