Bone morphogenetic protein 2 induces pulmonary angiogenesis via Wnt -β-catenin and Wnt - RhoA - Rac1 pathways

Vinicio A. De Jesus Perez, Tero Pekka Alastalo, Jenny C. Wu, Jeffrey D. Axelrod, John P. Cooke, Manuel Amieva, Marlene Rabinovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Mutations in bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) receptor II (BMPRII) are associated with pulmonary artery endothelial cell (PAEC) apoptosis and the loss of small vessels seen in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. Given the low penetrance of BMPRII mutations, abnormalities in other converging signaling pathways may be necessary for disease development. We hypothesized that BMPRII supports normal PAEC function by recruiting Wingless (Wnt) signaling pathways to promote proliferation, survival, and motility. In this study, we report that BMP-2, via BMPRII-mediated inhibition of GSK3-βces β-catenin (β-C) accumulation and transcriptional activity necessary for PAEC survival and proliferation. At the same time, BMP-2 mediates phosphorylated Smad1 (pSmad1) or, with loss of BMPRII, pSmad3-dependent recruitment of Disheveled (Dvl) to promote RhoA - Rac1 signaling necessary for motility. Finally, using an angiogenesis assay in severe combined immunodefi cient mice, we demonstrate that both β-C - and Dvl-mediated RhoA - Rac1 activation are necessary for vascular growth in vivo. These fi ndings suggest that the recruitment of both canonical and noncanonical Wnt pathways is required in BMP-2 - mediated angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-99
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 12 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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