Tumor angiogenesis occurs through regulation of genes that orchestrate endothelial sprouting and vessel maturation, including deposition of a vessel-associated extracellular matrix. CD93 is a transmembrane receptor that is upregulated in tumor vessels in many cancers, including high-grade glioma. Here, we demonstrate that CD93 regulates β1 integrin signaling and organization of fibronectin fibrillogenesis during tumor vascularization. In endothelial cells and mouse retina, CD93 was found to be expressed in endothelial filopodia and to promote filopodia formation. The CD93 localization to endothelial filopodia was stabilized by interaction with multimerin-2 (MMRN2), which inhibited its proteolytic cleavage. The CD93-MMRN2 complex was required for activation of β1 integrin, phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), and fibronectin fibrillogenesis in endothelial cells. Consequently, tumor vessels in gliomas implanted orthotopically in CD93-deficient mice showed diminished activation of β1 integrin and lacked organization of fibronectin into fibrillar structures. These findings demonstrate a key role of CD93 in vascular maturation and organization of the extracellular matrix in tumors, identifying it as a potential target for therapy.
Roberta Lugano, Kalyani Vemuri, Di Yu, Michael Bergqvist, Anja Smits, Magnus Essand, Staffan Johansson, Elisabetta Dejana, Anna Dimberg