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The normal cellular prion protein and its possible role in angiogenesis

Turu, Marta M. and Slevin, Mark and Ethirajan, Priya and Luque, Ana and Elasbali, Abdul B. and Font, M. Angels and Gaffney, John and Cairols, Marc and Kumar, Patricia and Kumar, Shant and Krupinski, Jerzy (2008) The normal cellular prion protein and its possible role in angiogenesis. Frontiers in bioscience, 13 (17). pp. 6491-6500. ISSN 1093-4715

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Abstract

Cellular Prion Protein (PrPc) is a ubiquitous glycoprotein present on the surface of endothelial cells. Resting vascular endothelial cells show minimum expression of PrPc and can constitutively release PrPc. PrPc participates in cell survival, differentiation and angiogenesis. During development, neonatal brain endothelial cells transiently express PrPc. Our group recently reported upregulation of PrPc in microvessels from ischemic brain regions in stroke patients. Ischemia/hypoxia induces PrPc expression through the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). All these data suggest that PrPc plays an important role in angiogenic responses. In addition, PrPc participates in cellular function in the central nervous system, since PrPc is also highly expressed in neurons. PrPc binds copper, suggesting a role in copper metabolism. PrPc also protects cells against oxidative stress and it seems to be involved in neuroprotection. Several studies have demonstrated that PrPc prevents cells from apoptosis and subsequent tissue damage. Moreover, PrPc plays an important role in the immune response. Here, we review the multiple functions of PrPc with a special attention to its recently reported role in angiogenesis.

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