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Open Access Research

Regulation of endothelial permeability and transendothelial migration of cancer cells by tropomyosin-1 phosphorylation

Bryan Simoneau, François Houle and Jacques Huot*

Author Affiliations

Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec, l’Hôtel-Dieu de Québec et Le Centre de recherche en cancérologie de l’Université Laval, 9 rue McMahon, Québec, G1R 2J6, Canada

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Vascular Cell 2012, 4:18  doi:10.1186/2045-824X-4-18

Published: 17 November 2012

Abstract

Background

Loss of endothelial cell integrity and selective permeability barrier is an early event in the sequence of oxidant-mediated injury and may result in atherosclerosis, hypertension and facilitation of transendothelial migration of cancer cells during metastasis. We already reported that endothelial cell integrity is tightly regulated by the balanced co-activation of p38 and ERK pathways. In particular, we showed that phosphorylation of tropomyosin-1 (tropomyosin alpha-1 chain = Tm1) at Ser283 by DAP kinase, downstream of the ERK pathway might be a key event required to maintain the integrity and normal functions of the endothelium in response to oxidative stress.

Methods

Endothelial permeability was assayed by monitoring the passage of Dextran-FITC through a tight monolayer of HUVECs grown to confluence in Boyden chambers. Actin and Tm1 dynamics and distribution were evaluated by immunofluorescence. We modulated the expression of Tm1 by siRNA and lentiviral-mediated expression of wild type and mutated forms of Tm1 insensitive to the siRNA. Transendothelial migration of HT-29 colon cancer cells was monitored in Boyden chambers similarly as for permeability.

Results

We provide evidence indicating that Tm1 phosphorylation at Ser283 is essential to regulate endothelial permeability under oxidative stress by modulating actin dynamics. Moreover, the transendothelial migration of colon cancer cells is also regulated by the phosphorylation of Tm1 at Ser283.

Conclusion

Our finding strongly support the role for the phosphorylation of endothelial Tm1 at Ser283 to prevent endothelial barrier dysfunction associated with oxidative stress injury.

Keywords:
Tropomyosin phosphorylation; Permeability; Oxidative stress; Transendothelial migration