Objective: Recent genome-wide association studies newly identified the human KIAA1462 gene as a new locus for coronary artery disease. However, the function of the gene product, named JCAD (junctional protein associated with coronary artery disease), is unknown. Because JCAD is expressed at cell-cell junctions in endothelial cells, we hypothesized and tested whether JCAD regulates angiogenic processes in vitro and in vivo.
Approach and results: Cell culture experiments revealed impaired angiogenic ability (proliferation, migration, and cord formation) by the knockdown of JCAD with siRNA (P<0.05 versus control siRNA). We have generated mice lacking JCAD (mKIAA1462-/-) by gene-targeted deletion of JCAD to address in vivo angiogenic function. mKIAA1462-/- mice did not show morphological differences in development of retinal vasculature. Ex vivo aortic ring model demonstrated impaired neovascularization in aorta from mKIAA1462-/- mice than control wild-type mice (P<0.05). Tumor growth was assessed by monitoring tumor volume after the subcutaneous injection of melanoma, LLC (Lewis lung carcinoma), and E0771 cells into the mice. mKIAA1462-/- mice exhibited significantly smaller tumor volume compared with wild-type mice (P<0.001). Histological assessment of the tumor exhibited less smooth muscle actin-positive neovascularization determined by CD31-positive vascular structure in tumor of mKIAA1462-/- mice than wild-type mice, indicating that knockdown of JCAD inhibited the vascular maturation in pathological angiogenic process.
Conclusions: These in vitro and in vivo studies suggest that JCAD has a redundant functional role in physiological angiogenesis but serves a pivotal role in pathological angiogenic process after birth.
Keywords: adherens junctions; angiogenesis; coronary artery disease.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.