The synaptic proteins neurexins and neuroligins are widely expressed in the vascular system and contribute to its functions

Alessia Bottos, Erika Destro, Alberto Rissone, Stefania Graziano, Gabriele Cordara, Barbara Assenzio, Maria Rosaria Cera, Luciana Mascia, Federico Bussolino, Marco Aresea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Unlike other neuronal counterparts, primary synaptic proteins are not known to be involved in vascular physiology. Here, we demonstrate that neurexins and neuroligins, which constitute large and complex families of fundamental players in synaptic activity, are produced and processed by endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells throughout the vasculature. Moreover, they are dynamically regulated during vessel remodeling and form endogenous complexes in large vessels as well as in the brain. We used the chicken chorioallantoic membrane as a system to pursue functional studies and demonstrate that a monoclonal recombinant antibody againstβ-neurexin inhibits angiogenesis, whereas exogenous neuroligin has a role in promoting angiogenesis. Finally, as an insight into the mechanism of action of β-neurexin, we show that the anti-β-neurexin antibody influences vessel tone in isolated chicken arteries. Our finding strongly supports the idea that even the most complex and plastic events taking place in the nervous system (i.e., synaptic activity) share molecular cues with the vascular system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20782-20787
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume106
Issue number49
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 8 2009

Keywords

  • Angiogenesis
  • Cell-to-cell adhesion
  • Nervous-vascular parallels
  • Synapses
  • Vessel tone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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