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Biomedical Reviews

G protein-coupled sphingosine-1-phosphate receptors: potential molecular targets for angiogenic and anti-angiogenic therapies

Noriko Takuwa, Yasuo Okamoto, Kazuaki Yoshioka, Yoh Takuwa


Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is a plasma lipid mediator with pleiotropic activities; it is constitutively produced in red blood cells and vascular endothelial cells through phosphorylation of sphingosine by one of two S1P synthesizing enzymes, sphingosine kinase 1 and 2 (SphK 1, 2), and exported into plasma to bind to high density lipoprotein and albumin. Sphingosine-1-phosphate acts through five members of the G protein-coupled S1P receptors (S1PR1-S1PR5) to exert diverse actions, which include vascular maturation in embryonic stage and postnatal angiogenesis, maintenance of functional integrity of vascular endothelium, regulation of vascular tonus, and lymphocyte trafficking. Sphingosine-1-phosphate is unique in its ability to regulate cell migration either positively or negatively by acting through different receptor subtypes. S1PR1 and S1PR3 mediate chemotactic cell migration toward S1P via Gi/Rac pathway, whereas S1PR2 mediates S1P inhibition of chemotaxis via G12/13/Rho-dependent inhibition of Rac. Sphingosine-1-phosphate positively or negatively regulates tumor cell migration, invasion in Matrigel, and hematogenous metastasis in manners strictly dependent on S1P receptor subtypes expressed in tumor cells. S1PR1 (and S1PR3) also mediates activation of Gi/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and stimulation of cell proliferation/survival, whereas S1PR2 could mediate suppression of cell proliferation/survival through G12/13/Rho/Rho kinase/PTEN-dependent Akt inhibition. S1PR1 (and S1PR3) expressed in endothelial cells mediates angiogenic action of S1P by stimulating endothelial cell migration, proliferation and tube formation. In a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia after femoral artery resection, repeated local administration or sustained delivery of S1P, or transgenic overexpression of SphK1, accelerates post-ischemic angiogenesis, through the S1P actions on both endothelial cells and bone marrow-derived myeloid cells (BMDCs). In tumor cells, SphK1 is upregulated especially in advanced stages, through mechanisms involving both activating Ras mutation and hypoxia, which leads to increased S1P production and also decreased cellular content of pro-apoptotic sphingolipid ceramide, a metabolic precursor of S1P. Apoptotic tumor cells also produce S1P through SphK2 activation, thus implicated in tumor angiogenesis by acting on endothelial cells through S1PR1/S1PR3, as well as tumor-infiltrating macrophages and BMDCs. Inhibition of S1PR1 function by either an anti-S1P antibody or FTY720 inhibits tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth. Differently from S1PR1, S1PR2 expressed in host cells mediates inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth, through mechanisms involving the suppression of endothelial cell migration, proliferation and tube formation, and inhibition of BMDC recruitment to tumor stroma with suppressed expression of pro-angiogenic factor and matrix metalloprotease 9. These findings provide the molecular basis for S1P receptor subtype-selective targeting strategies aiming at angiogenic therapy for occlusive peripheral arterial diseases, and anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor therapies against cancer.

Biomedical Reviews 2011; 22: 15-29.

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About The Authors

Noriko Takuwa
Kanazawa University

Yasuo Okamoto
Kanazawa University

Kazuaki Yoshioka
Kanazawa University

Yoh Takuwa
Kanazawa University

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