A junctional PACSIN2/EHD4/MICAL-L1 complex coordinates

Angiogenic sprouting relies on collective migration and coordinated rearrangements of endothelial leader and follower cells. VE-cadherin-based adherens junctions have emerged as key cell-cell contacts that transmit forces between cells and trigger signals during collective cell migration in angiogenesis. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms that govern these processes and their functional importance for vascular development still remain unknown. We previously showed that the F-BAR protein PACSIN2 is recruited to tensile asymmetric adherens junctions between leader and follower cells. Here we report that PACSIN2 mediates the formation of endothelial sprouts during angiogenesis by coordinating collective migration.

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Fig: Abnormal sprouting during retinal angiogenesis in Pacsin2−/−mice

We show that PACSIN2 recruits the trafficking regulators EHD4 and MICAL-L1 to the rear end of asymmetric adherens junctions to form a recycling endosome-like tubular structure. The junctional PACSIN2/EHD4/MICAL-L1 complex controls local VE-cadherin trafficking and thereby coordinates polarized endothelial migration and angiogenesis. Our findings reveal a molecular event at force-dependent asymmetric adherens junctions that occurs during the tug-of-war between endothelial leader and follower cells, and allows for junction-based guidance during collective migration in angiogenesis.

Malinova, T.S., Angulo-Urarte, A., Nüchel, J. et al. A junctional PACSIN2/EHD4/MICAL-L1 complex coordinates VE-cadherin trafficking for endothelial migration and angiogenesis. Nat Commun12, 2610 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22873-y

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