CRISPR-mediated deletion of the PECAM-1 cytoplasmic domain increases receptor lateral mobility and strengthens endothelial cell junctional integrity

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Abstract

Aims:

PECAM-1 is an abundant endothelial cell surface receptor that becomes highly enriched at endothelial cell-cell junctions, where it functions to mediate leukocyte transendothelial migration, sense changes in shear and flow, and maintain the vascular permeability barrier. Homophilic interactions mediated by the PECAM-1 extracellular domain are known to be required for PECAM-1 to perform these functions; however, much less is understood about the role of its cytoplasmic domain in these processes.

Main methods:

CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology was employed to generate human endothelial cell lines that either lack PECAM-1 entirely, or express mutated PECAM-1 missing the majority of its cytoplasmic domain (ΔCD-PECAM-1). The endothelial barrier function was evaluated by Electric Cell-substrate Impedance Sensing, and molecular mobility was assessed by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching.

Key findings:

We found that ΔCD-PECAM-1 concentrates normally at endothelial cell junctions, but has the unexpected property of conferring increased baseline barrier resistance, as well as a more rapid rate of recovery of vascular integrity following thrombin-induced disruption of the endothelial barrier. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching analysis revealed that ΔCD-PECAM-1 exhibits increased mobility within the plane of the plasma membrane, thus allowing it to redistribute more rapidly back to endothelial cell-cell borders to reform the vascular permeability barrier.

Significance:

The PECAM-1 cytoplasmic domain plays a novel role in regulating the rate and extent of vascular permeability following thrombotic or inflammatory challenge.

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