Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices
- The extracellular matrix encompasses a reservoir of bioactive macromolecules that modulates a cornucopia of biological functions. A prominent body of work posits matrix constituents as master regulators of autophagy and angiogenesis and provides molecular insight into how these two processes are coordinated. Here, we review current understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying hyaluronan and HAS2 regulation and the role of soluble proteoglycan in affecting autophagy and angiogenesis. Specifically, we assess the role of proteoglycan-evoked autophagy in regulating angiogenesis via the HAS2-hyaluronan axis and ATG9A, a novel HAS2 binding partner.
- Endorepellin, the C-terminal fragment of the heparan sulfate proteoglycan perlecan, influences various signaling pathways in endothelial cells by binding to VEGFR2. In this study, we discovered that soluble endorepellin activates the canonical stress signaling pathway consisting of PERK, eIF2α, ATF4, and GADD45α. Specifically, endorepellin evoked transient activation of VEGFR2, which, in turn, phosphorylated PERK at Thr980. Subsequently, PERK phosphorylated eIF2α at Ser51, upregulating its downstream effector proteins ATF4 and GADD45α.
- Extracellular matrix-evoked angiostasis and autophagy within the tumor microenvironment represent two critical, but unconnected, functions of the small leucine-rich proteoglycan, decorin. Acting as a partial agonist of vascular endothelial growth factor 2 (VEGFR2), soluble decorin signals via the energy sensing protein, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), in the autophagic degradation of intracellular vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA). Here, we discovered that soluble decorin evokes intracellular catabolism of endothelial VEGFA that is mechanistically independent of mTOR, but requires an autophagic regulator, paternally expressed gene 3 (PEG3).
- Macroautophagy is a fundamental and evolutionarily conserved catabolic process that eradicates damaged and aging macromolecules and organelles in eukaryotic cells. Decorin, an archetypical small leucine-rich proteoglycan, initiates a protracted autophagic program downstream of VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) signaling that requires paternally expressed gene 3 (PEG3). We have discovered that PEG3 is an upstream transcriptional regulator of transcription factor EB (TFEB), a master transcription factor of lysosomal biogenesis, for decorin-evoked endothelial cell autophagy.