To clarify the role of caveolae in VEGF/VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2)-mediated signaling cascades, primary cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were fractionated to isolate caveolae-enriched cell membranes. Interestingly, VEGFR-2, phospholipase D2 (PLD2), and Ras were enriched in caveolae-enriched fractions. Moreover, VEGF increased PLD activity in a time- and dose-dependent manner in HUVECs, whereas a ligand specific for VEGFR-1 placental growth factor did not change PLD activity. A PLD inhibitor, 1-butanol, almost completely suppressed VEGF-induced ERK phosphorylation and cellular proliferation, whereas the negative control for 1-butanol, 3-butanol, did not produce significant changes. Addition of phosphatidic acid negated the 1-butanol-induced suppression. Pharmacological analyses using several inhibitors indicated that PKC-δ regulates the VEGF-induced activation of PLD/ERK. Thus PLD2 could be involved in MEK/ERK signaling cascades that are induced by the VEGF/VEGFR-2/PKC-δ pathway in endothelial cells. Pretreatment with the cholesterol depletion agent methyl-β-cyclodextrin (MβCD) almost completely disassembled caveolar structures, whereas the addition of cholesterol to MβCD-treated cells restored caveolar structures. Pretreatment with MβCD largely abolished phosphorylation of MEK/ERK by VEGF, whereas the addition of cholesterol restored VEGF-induced MEK/ERK phosphorylations. These results indicate that intact caveolae are required for the VEGF/VEGFR-2-mediated MEK/ERK signaling cascade.

  • caveolin-1
  • protein kinase C-δ
  • signaling
  • vascular endothelial growth factor
  • phospholipase D
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