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Title: Investigating the role of Junctional Adhesion Molecule-C (JAM-C) in endothelial cell biology in vitro and in vivo using human and mouse models
Author: Beal, Robert William John
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 9176
Awarding Body: Queen Mary University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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Junctional adhesion molecule C (JAM-C) is a component of endothelial cell (EC) tight junctions that has been implicated in a number of endothelial functions, such as angiogenesis and trafficking of leukocytes through the endothelium during inflammation. Work within our lab has identified that loss of JAM-C at EC junctions results in increased reverse transendothelial migration (rTEM) of neutrophils back into the circulation, a response that has been associated with the dissemination of inflammation to distant organs. Whilst the mechanism by which JAM-C is lost or redistributed away from EC junctions has begun to be elucidated, little is known about how loss of endothelial JAM-C impacts the functions of ECs. As such, this thesis aimed to investigate the effect of JAM-C deficiency on EC functions to unravel possible molecular and cellular mechanisms of mediating neutrophil rTEM. To address the effect of JAM-C deficiency on EC functions, an in vitro RNA interference (RNAi) approach was used to efficiently knock-down (KD) JAM-C in human umbilical vein ECs (HUVECs). Importantly, KD of JAM-C did not affect expression of other key EC junctional markers such as JAM-A and VE-Cadherin and cell proliferation and apoptosis were similarly unaffected. Gene expression profiling using microarrays revealed that JAM-C depleted HUVECs exhibited a pro-inflammatory phenotype under basal conditions that was characterised by increased expression of pro-inflammatory genes such as ICAM1 and IL8. Following IL-1β-induced inflammation, no difference in expression of pro-inflammatory genes was detected between control and JAM-C KD HUVECs. However, protein levels of secreted chemokines such as IL-8 were reduced in JAM-C KD HUVECs following stimulation with IL-1β. This was corroborated by in vivo studies demonstrating reduced levels of secreted chemokines in the plasma of mice where JAM-C was conditionally deleted from ECs. A novel finding of this work is the demonstration that JAM-C KD HUVECs exhibit increased autophagy under basal conditions. This might provide a potential mechanism for the reduced chemokine secretion that is observed in this system, whereby chemokines are preferentially trafficked for autophagosome-mediated degradation. Taken together, these findings indicate a multi-functional role for JAM-C in regulating EC homeostasis under basal conditions. JAM-C KD ECs respond aberrantly to inflammatory stimuli by secreting reduced chemokine levels, a consequence that could provide novel insights into the mechanisms of neutrophil rTEM under conditions of endothelial JAM-C loss.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Wellcome Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Microvascular Research ; Junctional Adhesion Molecule-C ; endothelial cell biology