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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 314178, 9 pages
Review Article

Actin-Tethered Junctional Complexes in Angiogenesis and Lymphangiogenesis in Association with Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor

Division of Molecular Medical Biochemistry, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Shiga University of Medical Science, Seta Tsukinowa-cho, Shiga, Otsu 520-2192, Japan

Received 11 September 2014; Revised 23 October 2014; Accepted 31 October 2014

Academic Editor: Qiang Zhao

Copyright © 2015 Dimitar P. Zankov and Hisakazu Ogita. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Vasculature is present in all tissues and therefore is indispensable for development, biology, and pathology of multicellular organisms. Endothelial cells guarantee proper function of the vessels and are the original component in angiogenesis. Morphogenesis of the vascular system utilizes processes like cell adhesion, motility, proliferation, and survival that are closely related to the dynamics of actin filaments and actin-tethered adhesion complexes. Here we review involvement of actin cytoskeleton-associated junctional molecules of endothelial cells in angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. Particularly, we focus on F-actin binding protein afadin, an adaptor protein involved in broad range of signaling mechanisms. Afadin mediates the pathways of vascular endothelial growth factor- (VEGF-) and sphingosine 1-phosphate-triggered angiogenesis and is essential for embryonic development of lymph vessels in mice. We propose that targeting actin-tethered junctional molecules, including afadin, may present a new approach to angiogenic therapy that in combination with today used medications like VEGF inhibitors will benefit against development of pathological angiogenesis.