• Open Access

Crucial role of HSP90 in the Akt-dependent promotion of angiogenic-like effect of glucose-regulated protein94 (Grp94)-IgG complexes


Paola FINOTTI, Department of Pharmacology and Anesthesiology, L.go E. Meneghetti, 2, 35131 Padova, Italy. Tel.: +39 049 8275088 Fax: +39 049 8275093 E-mail: paola.finotti@unipd.it


Previous observations showed that complexes of glucose-regulated protein94 (Grp94) with human IgG, both those isolated from plasma of diabetic subjects and complexes formed in vitro, displayed cytokine-like effects on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), including angiogenic-like transformation capacity that predicted an increased risk of vascular damage. The aim of the present work was to find an effective inhibitor of the angiogenic-like effect of Grp94-IgG complexes. Because this effect is mediated by an increased expression of matrix metalloprotease-9 (MMP-9), we tested the selective MMP-9 inhibitor, the cyclic decapeptide CTT (CTTHWGFTLC) at 5, 10 and 20 μM. CCT failed to inhibit any morphological alteration induced by Grp94-IgG on HUVECs, on its own displaying a paradoxical angiogenic-like activity. We identified the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway as the specific target activated by both Grp94-IgG and CTT for sustaining the angiogenic-like transformation of HUVECs. Functioning of the PI3K/Akt pathway was crucially dependent on functional heat-shock protein (HSP)90, and both Grp94-IgG and CTT caused and increased expression of HSP90, promoting its localization to podosomes. CTT appeared to enhance the angiogenic-like effect of Grp94-IgG by increasing the rate of secretion of both HSP90 and MMP-9. By preventing the chaperoning capacity of HSP90 with the inhibitor purine-scaffold (PU)-H71 that blocked the ATP-binding site on HSP90, it was possible to inhibit the expression of Akt and secretion of HSP90 and MMP-9 induced by Grp94-IgG, thus completely reversing the angiogenic pattern. Results reveal a fundamental role of HSP90 in the PI3K/Akt pathway-mediated angiogenic-like effect of Grp94-IgG, also questioning the capacity of CTT to serve as an effective inhibitor of the angiogenic effect.