Caveolin-1 interacts and cooperates with the transforming growth factor-beta type I receptor ALK1 in endothelial caveolae

Juan F Santibanez, Francisco J Blanco, Eva M Garrido-Martin, Francisco Sanz-Rodriguez, Miguel A del Pozo, Carmelo Bernabeu
Cardiovascular Research 2008 March 1, 77 (4): 791-9

AIMS: Activin receptor-like kinase (ALK)1 is a transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta type I membrane receptor restricted almost entirely to endothelial cells (ECs) and involved in vascular remodelling and angiogenesis. Previous reports have shown that the ubiquitous TGF-beta type I receptor ALK5 and the type II receptor are located in cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains named caveolae. The aim of this work was to assess the location of ALK1 in endothelial caveolae as well as to study the role of caveolin-1 on the TGF-beta/ALK1 signalling pathway.

METHODS AND RESULTS: The subcellular distribution of ALK1 was analysed by confocal microscopy and co-fractionation experiments in human ECs. The association between human ALK1 and caveolin-1 was studied in caveolin-1-deficient human epithelial cells by co-immunoprecipitation. The functional role of caveolin-1 on the ALK1-mediated TGF-beta signalling was elucidated using ALK1-specific luciferase reporters in human ECs, caveolin-1(-/-)mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and rat myoblasts. Confocal microscopy analyses, as well as cholesterol depletion experiments in the presence of cholesterol-depleting agents such as nystatin or methyl-beta-cyclodextrin, demonstrated that ALK1 is located in endothelial caveolae. Also, co-immunoprecipitation assays showed that ALK1 associates with the main caveolae component caveolin-1. Mapping of the ALK1/caveolin-1 interaction revealed that the caveolin-1 scaffolding domain and the caveolin-1 binding motif in ALK1 are responsible for this association. Moreover, this hitherto not reported interaction had a functional consequence for the ALK1-dependent signalling. In contrast with the previously published ALK5/caveolin-1 interaction, caveolin-1 enhances the TGF-beta/ALK1 signalling pathway, promoting the activity of the ALK1-specific reporters. Conversely, specific suppression of caveolin-1 abrogated the ALK1 signalling pathway.

CONCLUSION: ALK1 is located in endothelial caveolae where it functionally interacts with caveolin-1 through its scaffolding domain, suggesting a joint contribution of ALK1 and caveolin-1 as key mediators of the TGF-beta pathway in angiogenesis.

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