NRP1 interacts with endoglin and VEGFR2 to modulate VEGF signaling and endothelial cell sprouting

Swati Sharma, Marcelo Ehrlich, Manqi Zhang, Gerard C. Blobe, Yoav I. Henis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Endothelial cells express neuropilin 1 (NRP1), endoglin (ENG) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), which regulate VEGF-A-mediated vascular development and angiogenesis. However, the link between complex formation among these receptors with VEGF-A-induced signaling and biology is yet unclear. Here, we quantify surface receptor interactions by IgG-mediated immobilization of one receptor, and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) measurements of the mobility of another coexpressed receptor. We observe stable ENG/NRP1, ENG/VEGFR2, and NRP1/VEGFR2 complexes, which are enhanced by VEGF-A. ENG augments NRP1/VEGFR2 interactions, suggesting formation of tripartite complexes bridged by ENG. Effects on signaling are measured in murine embryonic endothelial cells expressing (MEEC+/+) or lacking (MEEC-/-) ENG, along with NRP1 and/or ENG overexpression or knockdown. We find that optimal VEGF-A-mediated phosphorylation of VEGFR2 and Erk1/2 requires ENG and NRP1. ENG or NRP1 increase VEGF-A-induced sprouting, becoming optimal in cells expressing all three receptors, and both processes are inhibited by a MEK1/2 inhibitor. We propose a model where the maximal potency of VEGF-A involves a tripartite complex where ENG bridges VEGFR2 and NRP1, providing an attractive therapeutic target for modulation of VEGF-A signaling and biological responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


FundersFunder number
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation


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