Angiopoietin-2 binds to multiple interactive sites within von Willebrand factor

Res Pract Thromb Haemost. 2023 Sep 19;7(7):102204. doi: 10.1016/j.rpth.2023.102204. eCollection 2023 Oct.


Background: Biosynthesis of von Willebrand factor (VWF) in endothelial cells drives the formation of storage-organelles known as Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs). WPBs also contain several other proteins, including angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2).

Objectives: At present, the molecular basis of the VWF-Ang-2 interaction is poorly understood. Here, we used immunosorbent-binding assays and specific recombinant VWF fragments to analyze VWF-Ang-2 interactions.

Results: We found that VWF bound to immobilized Ang-2 most efficiently (half-maximal binding at 0.5 ± 0.1 μg/mL) under conditions of high CaCl2 (10 mM) and slightly acidic pH (6.4-7.0). Interestingly, several isolated recombinant VWF domains (A1/Fc, A2/Fc, D4/Fc, and D'D3-HPC4) displayed dose-dependent binding to immobilized Ang-2. Binding appeared specific, as antibodies against D'D3, A1, and A2 significantly reduced the binding of these domains to Ang-2. Complexes between VWF and Ang-2 in plasma could be detected by immunoprecipitation- and immunosorbent assays. Unexpectedly, control experiments also revealed complexes between VWF and angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1), a protein structurally homologous to Ang-2. Furthermore, direct binding studies showed dose-dependent binding of VWF to immobilized Ang-1 (half-maximal binding at 1.8 ± 1.0 μg/mL). Interestingly, rather than competing for Ang-1 binding, Ang-2 enhanced the binding of VWF to Ang-1 about 3-fold. Competition experiments further revealed that binding to VWF does not prevent Ang-1 and Ang-2 from binding to Tie-2.

Conclusion: Our data show that both Ang-1 and Ang-2 bind to VWF, seemingly using different interactive sites. Ang-2 modulates the binding of VWF to Ang-1, the (patho)-physiological consequences of which remain to be investigated.

Keywords: Weibel-Palade bodies; angiopoietin-1; angiopoietin-2; endothelial cells; von Willebrand factor.