Endothelial epsin deficiency decreases tumor growth by enhancing VEGF signaling

Satish Pasula, Xiaofeng Cai, Yunzhou Dong, Mirko Messa, John McManus, Baojun Chang, Xiaolei Liu, Hua Zhu, Robert Silasi Mansat, Seon Joo Yoon, Scott Hahn, Jacob Keeling, Debra Saunders, Genevieve Ko, John Knight, Gail Newton, Francis Luscinskas, Xiaohong Sun, Rheal Towner, Florea LupuLijun Xia, Ottavio Cremona, Pietro De Camilli, Wang Min*, Hong Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Epsins are a family of ubiquitin-binding, endocytic clathrin adaptors. Mice lacking both epsins 1 and 2 (Epn1/2) die at embryonic day 10 and exhibit an abnormal vascular phenotype. To examine the angiogenic role of endothelial epsins, we generated mice with constitutive or inducible deletion of Epn1/2 in vascular endothelium. These mice exhibited no abnormal phenotypes under normal conditions, suggesting that lack of endothelial epsins 1 and 2 did not affect normal blood vessels. In tumors, however, loss of epsins 1 and 2 resulted in disorganized vasculature, significantly increased vascular permeability, and markedly retarded tumor growth. Mechanistically, we show that VEGF promoted binding of epsin to ubiquitinated VEGFR2. Loss of epsins 1 and 2 specifically impaired endocytosis and degradation of VEGFR2, which resulted in excessive VEGF signaling that compromised tumor vascular function by exacerbating nonproductive leaky angiogenesis. This suggests that tumor vasculature requires a balance in VEGF signaling to provide sufficient productive angiogenesis for tumor development and that endothelial epsins 1 and 2 negatively regulate the output of VEGF signaling. Promotion of excessive VEGF signaling within tumors via a block of epsin 1 and 2 function may represent a strategy to prevent normal angiogenesis in cancer patients who are resistant to anti-VEGF therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4424-4438
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 3 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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