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).
- The extracellular matrix is a master regulator of tissue homeostasis in health and disease. Here we examined how the small, leucine-rich, extracellular matrix proteoglycan decorin regulates cardiomyocyte metabolism during fasting in vivo. First, we validated in Dcn−/− mice that decorin plays an essential role in autophagy induced by fasting. High-throughput metabolomics analyses of cardiac tissue in Dcn−/− mice subjected to fasting revealed striking differences in the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway resulting in aberrant cardiac O-β-N-acetylglycosylation as compared with WT mice.
- Regulation of autophagy by proteolytically cleaved fragments of heparan sulfate proteoglycans is a novel and current research focus in tumor biology. Endorepellin is the C-terminal angiostatic fragment of the heparan sulfate proteoglycan perlecan and induces autophagy in endothelial cells. To further investigate this property, we used NanoString, a digital PCR platform for measuring pre-defined transcripts in biological samples to analyze a custom subset of 95 autophagy-related genes in human umbilical vein endothelial cells treated with ultrapure human recombinant endorepellin.