Yes-Associated Protein Promotes Angiogenesis via Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 in Endothelial Cells

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Abstract

Rationale:

Angiogenesis is a complex process regulating endothelial cell (EC) functions. Emerging lines of evidence support that YAP (Yes-associated protein) plays an important role in regulating the angiogenic activity of ECs.

Objective:

The objective of this study was to specify the effect of EC YAP on angiogenesis and its underlying mechanisms.

Method and Results:

In ECs, vascular endothelial growth factor reduced YAP phosphorylation time and dose dependently and increased its nuclear accumulation. Using Tie2Cre-mediated YAP transgenic mice, we found that YAP promoted angiogenesis in the postnatal retina and tumor tissues. Mass spectrometry revealed signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) as a potential binding partner of YAP in ECs. Western blot and immunoprecipitation assays indicated that binding with YAP prolonged interleukin 6–induced STAT3 nuclear accumulation by blocking chromosomal maintenance 1–mediated STAT3 nuclear export without affecting its phosphorylation. Moreover, angiopoietin-2 expression induced by STAT3 was enhanced by YAP overexpression in ECs. Finally, a selective STAT3 inhibitor or angiopoietin-2 blockage partly attenuated retinal angiogenesis in Tie2Cre-mediated YAP transgenic mice.

Conclusions:

YAP binding sustained STAT3 in the nucleus to enhance the latter’s transcriptional activity and promote angiogenesis via regulation of angiopoietin-2.

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