Transforming growth factor β-regulated microRNA-29a promotes angiogenesis through targeting the phosphatase and tensin homolog in endothelium

Jun Wang, Youliang Wang, Yu Wang, Ying Ma, Yu Lan, Xiao Yang
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2013 April 12, 288 (15): 10418-26
The TGF-β pathway plays an important role in physiological and pathological angiogenesis. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of 18- to 25-nucleotide, small, noncoding RNAs that function by regulating gene expression. A number of miRNAs have been found to be regulated by the TGF-β pathway. However, the role of endothelial miRNAs in the TGF-β-mediated control of angiogenesis is still largely unknown. Here we investigated the regulation of endothelial microRNA-29a (miR-29a) by TGF-β signaling and the potential role of miR-29a in angiogenesis. MiR-29a was directly up-regulated by TGF-β/Smad4 signaling in human and mice endothelial cells. In a chick chorioallantoic membrane assay, miR-29a overexpression promoted the formation of new blood vessels, and miR-29a suppression completely blocked TGF-β1-stimulated angiogenesis. Consistently, miR-29a overexpression increased tube formation and migration in endothelial cultures. Mechanistically, miR-29a directly targeted the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) in endothelial cells, leading to activation of the AKT pathway. PTEN knockdown recapitulated the role of miR-29a in endothelial migration, whereas AKT inhibition completely attenuated the stimulating role of miR-29a in angiogenesis. Taken together, these results reveal a crucial role of a TGF-β-regulated miRNA in promoting angiogenesis by targeting PTEN to stimulate AKT activity.

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