Previous studies have shown that the adaptor protein Shb is involved in receptor tyrosine kinase signaling. In this study, we demonstrate that Shb is phosphorylated in an Src-dependent manner upon vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) stimulation using porcine aortic endothelial cells expressing the human VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) (KDR). In co-immunoprecipitation experiments, we could detect an interaction between Shb and the VEGFR-2 in human telomerase-immortalized microvascular endothelial cells. Furthermore, in a glutathione S-transferase pull-down assay, the Src homology 2 domain of Shb was shown to interact with phosphorylated tyrosine 1175 in the C-terminal tail of VEGFR-2. VEGF-induced Shb phosphorylation was lost in porcine aortic endothelial cells expressing a chimeric murine VEGFR-2 (Flk-1) with a mutation at the corresponding position. Shb expression was specifically decreased by 80%, in a transient manner, by using the short interfering RNA technique. Reduced Shb expression led to a loss of stimulation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase at tyrosine 576, the generation of focal adhesions, and stress fiber formation in response to VEGF. Furthermore, we show that VEGF-induced migration is inhibited in Shb short interfering RNA-treated cells. Our data demonstrate that Shb is important for VEGF signaling in endothelial cells. This is achieved by Shb binding to tyrosine 1175 in the VEGFR-2, which regulates VEGF-induced formation of focal adhesions and cell migration, of which the latter occurs in a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent manner.
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