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Title: Role of the plasma membrane calcium ATPase as a negative regulator of angiogenesis
Author: Baggott, Rhiannon Rebecca
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 0647
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2014
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Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. Unregulated angiogenesis is associated with several diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and tumour growth. Many signal transduction pathways have been implicated in the regulation of angiogenesis such as p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K), extracellular signal-related kinase 1/2 (Erk1/2) and of particular interest the calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T-cell (NFAT) pathway. Inhibition of calcineurin activity by the drug cyclopsorin A (CsA) has been shown to inhibit processes required for successful angiogenesis such as in vitro cell migration, tube formation and additionally attenuates corneal angiogenesis in vivo. CsA is associated with severe side effects and therefore the identification of an endogenous regulator of this pathway would be beneficial. One possibility is the plasma membrane calcium ATPases (PMCAs). These high affinity calcium extrusion pumps have been shown to interact with calcineurin in mammalian cells and cardiomyocytes and down-regulate the calcineurin/NFAT pathway. This is hypothesised to be due to the interaction between the two proteins which maintains calcineurin in a low calcium micro-environment generated by the calcium removal function of the pump. Interestingly, PMCA4 has been shown to interact with calcineurin in endothelial cells. The aim of our study was to further our understanding of PMCA4s regulation of the calcineurin/NFAT pathway specifically in endothelial cells and establish if PMCA4 has a role in the regulation of angiogenesis. ‘Gain of function’ by adenoviral over-expression of PMCA4 and ‘loss of function’ by either si-RNA mediated knockdown of PMCA4 or isolation of PMCA4-/- MLEC were used as models. Over-expression of PMCA4 in HUVEC resulted in inhibition of the calcineurin/NFAT pathway with the opposite result occurring in the case of the knockout of PMCA4, identifying PMCA4 as a negative-regulator of the calcineurin/NFAT pathway in endothelial cells. Over-expression of PMCA4 significantly attenuated VEGF-induced protein and mRNA expression of the pro-angiogenic proteins RCAN1.4 and Cox-2, endothelial cell migration and in vitro and in vivo tube formation with the opposite result occurring in knockdown or knockout studies, confirming PMCA4 as a down-regulator of angiogenesis. Interestingly, over-expression or knockdown of PMCA4 had no effect on VEGF-induced HUVEC proliferation or Erk1/2 phopshorylation proposing PMCA4 may be a potential inhibitor of angiogenesis without compromising cell survival. Disruption of the interaction between PMCA4 and calcineurin by generation and ectopic expression of an adenovirus encoding the region of PMCA4 that interacts with calcineurin (428-651) (Ad-ID4) resulted in an increase in NFAT activity, RCAN1.4 protein expression and in vitro tube formation. These results identify the mechanism of PMCA4s inhibitory effect of the calcineurin/NFAT pathway and consequently angiogenesis is a result of the interaction between the two proteins. The novel findings of this study establish PMCA4 as a negative-regulator of the calcineurin/NFAT pathway in endothelial cells and angiogenesis. These results are far reaching and highlight a potential role for PMCA4 as a therapeutic target in a variety of diseases that are associated with pathological angiogenesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Plasma Membrane Calcium ATPases (PMCA) ; Angiogenesis ; Calcineurin ; Nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) ; Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) ; Inhibitor ; endothelial cells ; signalling pathways ; Regulator of Calcineurin 1.4 (RCAN1.4)