Rap1 and Rap2 antagonistically control endothelial barrier resistance

Pannekoek WJ, Linnemann JR, Brouwer PM, Bos JL, Rehmann H
Source: PLoS ONE
Publication Date: (2013)
Issue: 8(2): e57903
Research Area:
Cells used in publication:
Endothelial, umbilical vein, human (HUVEC)
Species: human
Tissue Origin: vein
Rap1 and Rap2 are closely related proteins of the Ras family of small G-proteins. Rap1 is well known to regulate cell-cell adhesion. Here, we have analysed the effect of Rap-mediated signalling on endothelial permeability using electrical impedance measurements of HUVEC monolayers and subsequent determination of the barrier resistance, which is a measure for the ease with which ions can pass cell junctions. In line with its well-established effect on cell-cell junctions, depletion of Rap1 decreases, whereas activation of Rap1 increases barrier resistance. Despite its high sequence homology with Rap1, depletion of Rap2 has an opposite, enhancing, effect on barrier resistance. This effect can be mimicked by depletion of the Rap2 specific activator RasGEF1C and the Rap2 effector MAP4K4, establishing Rap2 signalling as an independent pathway controlling barrier resistance. As simultaneous depletion or activation of both Rap1 and Rap2 results in a barrier resistance comparable to control cells, Rap1 and Rap2 control barrier resistance in a reciprocal manner. This Rap1-antagonizing effect of Rap2 is established independent of junctional actin formation. These data establish that endothelial barrier resistance is determined by the combined antagonistic actions of Rap1 and Rap2.