Understanding the mechanisms inducing endothelial cell (EC) proliferation following tumor microenvironment stimuli may be important for the development of antiangiogenic therapies. Here, we show that cyclin-dependent kinase 2 and 5 (Cdk2, Cdk5) are important mediators of neoangiogenesis in in vitro and in vivo systems. Furthermore, we demonstrate that a specific Yin Yang 1 (YY1) protein-dependent signal from osteosarcoma (SaOS) cells determines proliferation of human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs). Following tumor cell stimuli, HAECs overexpress Cdk2 and Cdk5, display increased Cdk2 activity, undergo enhanced proliferation, and form capillary-like structures. Moreover, Roscovitine, an inhibitor of Cdks, blunted overexpression of Cdk2 and Cdk5 and Cdk2 activity induced by the YY1-dependent signal secreted by SaOS cells. Furthermore, Roscovitine decreased HAEC proliferation and angiogenesis (the latter by 70% in in vitro and 50% in in vivo systems; P < 0.01 vs. control). Finally, the finding that Roscovitine triggers apoptosis in SaOS cells as well as in HAECs by activating caspase-3/7 indicates multiple mechanisms for the potential antitumoral effect of Roscovitine. Present work suggests that Cdk2 and Cdk5 might be pharmacologically accessible targets for both antiangiogenic and antitumor therapy
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