ANGPTL3 stimulates endothelial cell adhesion and migration via integrin alpha vbeta 3 and induces blood vessel formation in vivo.
The angiopoietin family of secreted factors is functionally defined by the C-terminal fibrinogen (FBN)-like domain, which mediates binding to the Tie2 receptor and thereby facilitates a cascade of events ultimately regulating blood vessel formation. By screening expressed sequence tag data bases for homologies to a consensus FBN-like motive, we have identified ANGPTL3, a liver-specific, secreted factor consisting of an N-terminal coiled-coil domain and the C-terminal FBN-like domain. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments, however, failed to detect binding of ANGPTL3 to the Tie2 receptor. A molecular model of the FBN-like domain of ANGPTL3 was generated and predicted potential binding to integrins. This hypothesis was experimentally confirmed by the finding that recombinant ANGPTL3 bound to alpha(v)beta(3) and induced integrin alpha(v)beta(3)-dependent haptotactic endothelial cell adhesion and migration and stimulated signal transduction pathways characteristic for integrin activation, including phosphorylation of Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and focal adhesion kinase. When tested in the rat corneal assay, ANGPTL3 strongly induced angiogenesis with comparable magnitude as observed for vascular endothelial growth factor-A. Moreover, the C-terminal FBN-like domain alone was sufficient to induce endothelial cell adhesion and in vivo angiogenesis. Taken together, our data demonstrate that ANGPTL3 is the first member of the angiopoietin-like family of secreted factors binding to integrin alpha(v)beta(3) and suggest a possible role in the regulation of angiogenesis.