, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 53-62
Date: 25 Jan 2008

Sprouty proteins, masterminds of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling

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Angiogenesis relies on endothelial cells properly processing signals from growth factors provided in both an autocrine and a paracrine manner. These mitogens bind to their cognate receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) on the cell surface, thereby activating a myriad of complex intracellular signaling pathways whose outputs include cell growth, migration, and morphogenesis. Understanding how these cascades are precisely controlled will provide insight into physiological and pathological angiogenesis. The Sprouty (Spry) family of proteins is a highly conserved group of negative feedback loop modulators of growth factor-mediated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation originally described in Drosophila. There are four mammalian orthologs (Spry1-4) whose modulation of RTK-induced signaling pathways is growth factor- and cell context-dependant. Endothelial cells are a group of highly differentiated cell types necessary for defining the mammalian vasculature. These cells respond to a plethora of growth factors and express all four Spry isoforms, thus highlighting the complexity that is required to form and maintain vessels in mammals. This review describes Spry functions in the context of endothelial biology and angiogenesis, and provides an update on Spry-interacting proteins and Spry mechanisms of action.