Identification of the lysine methyltransferase involved in the methylation of VEGFR-2
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Angiogenesis is the process of new blood vessel growth from preexisting vessels. This process relies on the activity of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) and occurs in both normal and pathological tissues. Angiogenesis is often dysregulated in diseases such as cancer and many efforts have been made to treat such diseases by targeting the VEGFR-2 pathway. VEGFR-2 is activated upon ligand binding and subsequent autophosphorylation of tyrosine residues in the kinase domain, which leads to endothelial cell survival, proliferation, and growth – all of which are required for angiogenesis to occur. It was previously demonstrated that methylation of VEGFR-2 at Lys1041 enhanced its tyrosine autophosphorylation and is required for VEGFR-2 mediated angiogenesis in zebrafish and tumor growth in mouse. However, the Lysine Methyltransferase (KMT) involved in the methylation of VEGFR-2 remains unknown. This study aimed to identify the KMT involved in the methylation of VEGFR-2. We have identified Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) as the KMT likely responsible for catalyzing methylation of K1041 on VEGFR-2. Over-expression of EZH2 was found to increase phosphorylation of Tyr1054, one of the required phosphorylation sites for VEGFR-2 activation, in whole cell lysates and VEGFR-2 purified by immunoprecipitation. The effect of over-expression of EZH2 in the phosphorylation of VEGFR-2 at Tyr1054 was dose-dependent - increasing concentrations of EZH2 resulted in increasing phosphorylation of VEGFR-2 at Tyr1054. Moreover, we determined that EZH2 physically interacts with VEGFR-2 as demonstrated by co-immunoprecipitation in vitro GST-pulldown assays. The C-terminus of EZH2 (amino acids 371-746), physically interacted with VEGFR-2. Taken together, we have identified EZH2 as a candidate KMT involved in the methylation of Lys1041, which increases phosphorylation of VEGFR-2 at Tyr1054.
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