Angiopoietin 2 is a partial agonist/antagonist of Tie2 signaling in the endothelium

Hai Tao Yuan, Eliyahu V. Khankin, S. Ananth Karumanchi, Samir M. Parikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

285 Scopus citations


Angiopoietin 2 (Ang2) was originally shown to be a competitive antagonist for Ang1 of the receptor tyrosine kinase Tie2 in endothelial cells (ECs). Since then, reports have conflicted on whether Ang2 is an agonist or antagonist of Tie2. Here we show that Ang2 functions as an agonist when Ang1 is absent but as a dosedependent antagonist when Ang1 is present. Exogenous Ang2 activates Tie2 and the promigratory, prosurvival PI3K/Akt pathway in ECs but with less potency and lower affinity than exogenous Ang1. ECs produce Ang2 but not Ang1. This endogenous Ang2 maintains Tie2, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and Akt activities, and it promotes EC survival, migration, and tube formation. However, when ECs are stimulated with Ang1 and Ang2, Ang2 dose-dependently inhibits Ang1-induced Tie2 phosphorylation, Akt activation, and EC survival. We conclude that Ang2 is both an agonist and an antagonist of Tie2. Although Ang2 is a weaker agonist than Ang1, endogenous Ang2 maintains a level of Tie2 activation that is critical to a spectrum of EC functions. These findings may reconcile disparate reports of Ang2's effect on Tie2, impact our understanding of endogenous receptor tyrosine kinase signal transduction mechanisms, and affect how Ang2 and Tie2 are targeted under conditions such as sepsis and cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2011-2022
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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