Angiopoietin-2-induced lymphatic endothelial cell migration drives lymphangiogenesis via the β1 integrin-RhoA-formin axis

Racheal Grace Akwii, Md Sanaullah Sajib, Fatema Tuz Zahra, Paul Tullar, Masoud Zabet-Moghaddam, Yi Zheng, J. Silvio Gutkind, Colleen L. Doci, Constantinos M. Mikelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lymphangiogenesis is an essential physiological process but also a determining factor in vascular-related pathological conditions. Angiopoietin-2 (Ang2) plays an important role in lymphatic vascular development and function and its upregulation has been reported in several vascular-related diseases, including cancer. Given the established role of the small GTPase RhoA on cytoskeleton-dependent endothelial functions, we investigated the relationship between RhoA and Ang2-induced cellular activities. This study shows that Ang2-driven human dermal lymphatic endothelial cell migration depends on RhoA. We demonstrate that Ang2-induced migration is independent of the Tie receptors, but dependent on β1 integrin-mediated RhoA activation with knockdown, pharmacological approaches, and protein sequencing experiments. Although the key proteins downstream of RhoA, Rho kinase (ROCK) and myosin light chain, were activated, blockade of ROCK did not abrogate the Ang2-driven migratory effect. However, formins, an alternative target of RhoA, were identified as key players, and especially FHOD1. The Ang2-RhoA relationship was explored in vivo, where lymphatic endothelial RhoA deficiency blocked Ang2-induced lymphangiogenesis, highlighting RhoA as an important target for anti-lymphangiogenic treatments.

Original languageEnglish
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Ang2
  • Angiopoietin-2
  • Cell migration
  • Formins
  • Integrins
  • Lymphangiogenesis
  • Lymphatic endothelial cells
  • RhoA
  • Small GTPase


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