Testini C, Smith RO, Jin Y, Martinsson P, Sun Y, Hedlund M, Sáinz-Jaspeado M, Shibuya M, Hellström M, Claesson-Welsh L
EMBO Rep. 20 (11) e47845 [2019-11-05; online 2019-09-23]
Exaggerated signaling by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A and its receptor, VEGFR2, in pathologies results in poor vessel function. Still, pharmacological suppression of VEGFA/VEGFR2 may aggravate disease. Delineating VEGFR2 signaling in vivo provides strategies for suppression of specific VEGFR2-induced pathways. Three VEGFR2 tyrosine residues (Y949, Y1212, and Y1173) induce downstream signaling. Here, we show that knock-in of phenylalanine to create VEGFR2 Y1212F in C57Bl/6 and FVB mouse strains leads to loss of growth factor receptor-bound protein 2- and phosphoinositide 3'-kinase (PI3K)p85 signaling. C57Bl/6 Vegfr2 Y1212F/Y1212F show reduced embryonic endothelial cell (EC) proliferation and partial lethality. FVB Vegfr2Y1212F/Y1212F show reduced postnatal EC proliferation. Reduced EC proliferation in Vegfr2Y1212F/Y1212F explants is rescued by c-Myc overexpression. We conclude that VEGFR2 Y1212 signaling induces activation of extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 and Akt pathways required for c-Myc-dependent gene regulation, endothelial proliferation, and vessel stability.