Vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) is an endothelial cell-specific cadherin that plays an important role in the control of vascular organization. Blocking VE-cadherin antibodies strongly inhibit angiogenesis, and inactivation of VE-cadherin gene causes embryonic lethality due to a lack of correct organization and remodeling of the vasculature. Hence, inhibitors of VE-cadherin adhesive properties may constitute a tool to prevent tumor neovascularization. In this paper, we tested different monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed to human VE-cadherin ectodomain for their functional activity. Three mAbs (Cad 5, BV6, BV9) were able to increase paracellular permeability, inhibit VE-cadherin reorganization, and block angiogenesis in vitro. These mAbs could also induce endothelial cell apoptosis in vitro. Two additional mAbs, TEA 1.31 and Hec 1.2, had an intermediate or undetectable activity, respectively, in these assays. Epitope mapping studies show that BV6, BV9, TEA 1.31, and Hec 1.2 bound to a recombinant fragment spanning the extracellular juxtamembrane domains EC3 through EC4. In contrast, Cad 5 bound to the aminoterminal domain EC1. By peptide scanning analysis and competition experiments, we defined the sequences TIDLRY located on EC3 and KVFRVDAETGDVFAI on EC1 as the binding domain of BV6 and Cad 5, respectively. Overall, these results support the concept that VE-cadherin plays a relevant role on human endothelial cell properties. Antibodies directed to the extracellular domains EC1 but also EC3-EC4 affect VE-cadherin adhesion and clustering and alter endothelial cell permeability, apoptosis, and vascular structure formation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology