Conformational alteration in glycan induces phospholipase Cβ1 activation and angiogenesis

Extracellular Vesicles

Background In endothelial cells, phospholipase C (PLC) β1-activated Ca2+ is a crucial second messenger for the signaling pathways governing angiogenesis. PLCβ1 is inactivated by complexing with an intracellular protein called translin-associated factor X (TRAX). This study demonstrates specific interactions between Globo H ceramide (GHCer) and TRAX, which highlight a new angiogenic control through PLCβ1 activation. Methods Globo-series glycosphingolipids (GSLs), including GHCer and stage-specific embryonic antigen-3 ceramide (SSEA3Cer), were analyzed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Biacore for their binding with TRAX. Angiogenic activities of GSLs in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were evaluated. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation was used to study conformations of GSLs and their molecular interactions with TRAX. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) analysis of HUVECs by confocal microscopy was used to validate the release of PLCβ1 from TRAX. Furthermore, the in vivo angiogenic activity of extracellular vesicles (EVs) containing GHCer was confirmed using subcutaneous Matrigel plug assay in mice. Results The results of ELISA and Biacore analysis showed a stable complex between recombinant TRAX and synthetic GHCer with KD of 40.9 nM. In contrast, SSEA3Cer lacking a fucose residue of GHCer at the terminal showed ~ 1000-fold decrease in the binding affinity. These results were consistent with their angiogenic activities in HUVECs. The MD simulation indicated that TRAX interacted with the glycan moiety of GHCer at amino acid Q223, Q219, L142, S141, and E216. At equilibrium the stable complex maintained 4.6 ± 1.3 H-bonds. TRAX containing double mutations with Q223A and Q219A lost its ability to interact with GHCer in both MD simulation and Biacore assays. Removal of the terminal fucose from GHCer to become SSEA3Cer resulted in decreased H-bonding to 1.2 ± 1.0 by the MD simulation. Such specific H-bonding was due to the conformational alteration in the whole glycan which was affected by the presence or absence of the fucose moiety. In addition, ELISA, Biacore, and in-cell FRET assays confirmed the competition between GHCer and PLCβ1 for binding to TRAX. Furthermore, the Matrigel plug assay showed robust vessel formation in the plug containing tumor-secreted EVs or synthetic GHCer, but not in the plug with SSEA3Cer. The FRET analysis also indicated the disruption of colocalization of TRAX and PLCβ1 in cells by GHCer derived from EVs. Conclusions Overall, the fucose residue in GHCer dictated the glycan conformation for its complexing with TRAX to release TRAX-sequestered PLCβ1, leading to Ca2+ mobilization in endothelial cells and enhancing angiogenesis in tumor microenvironments.

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Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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