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Kyu-Yeon Han, Jin-Hong Chang, Dimitri T. Azar; MMP14-Containing Exosomes Cleave VEGFR1 and Promote VEGFA-Induced Migration and Proliferation of Vascular Endothelial Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(6):2321-2329. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-26277.
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Investigate the impact matrix metalloproteinase 14 (MMP14) delivered via exosomes produced by corneal fibroblasts on vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) cleavage on endothelial cells, and other key processes of angiogenesis.
Proteolysis of VEGFR1 and R2 by the catalytic domain of MMP14 was investigated via immunocytochemistry with anti-VEGFR1, anti-VEGFR2, and anti-MMP14 antibodies. Exosomes were isolated via precipitation and serial ultracentrifugation from wild-type (WT) and MMP14 exon4-deficient corneal fibroblasts. Transmission electron microscopy and nanotracking analysis were used to characterize the isolated exosomes. The presence of MMP14 in exosomes from WT fibroblasts was confirmed by Western blotting. VEGFR1 cleavage upon treatment with WT-derived exosomes, Δexon4-derived exosomes, or the pan-MMP inhibitor GM60001 was examined via in vitro proteolysis analysis using recombinant mouse (rm) VEGFR1/R2. Endothelial cell migration and proliferation were investigated using a Boyden chamber assay and BrdU incorporation, respectively.
WT-derived exosomes specifically cleaved rmVEGFR1 in vitro, whereas Δexon4-derived exosomes did not. Treatment with the pan-MMP inhibitor GM6001 effectively inhibited VEGFR1 cleavage by WT-derived exosomes, confirming the role of MMP14 in this cleavage. WT-derived exosomes induced greater endothelial cell migration (P < 0.01) and proliferation (P < 0.5) compared to Δexon4-derived exosomes.
MMP14-containing exosomes may be involved in the regulation of corneal neovascularization through degradation of VEGFR1 and VEGFA-induced endothelial cell proliferation and migration.
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