The Rif GTPase is a recent addition to small Rho GTPase family; it shares low homology with other members in the family and evolutionarily parallels with the development of vertebrates. Rif has the conserved Rho GTPase domain structures and cycles between a GDP-bound inactive form and a GTP-bound active form. In its active form, Rif signals through multiple downstream effectors. In the present review, our aim is to summarize the current information about the Rif effectors and how Rif remodels actin cytoskeleton in many aspects.
Angiogenesis is a complex process that involves multiple cellular events. In addition to receiving inputs from a range of stimulatory and inhibitory factors, endothelial cells undergoing angiogenesis make multiple interactions with the extracellular matrix and with other cell types in the stroma. Recreating angiogenesis in vitro is probably an impossible goal; however, a number of assays have been developed that recapitulate many of the key events of the process. These assays are indispensible tools for investigating the signalling pathways that control the formation of new blood vessels. In the present paper, we review the organotypic co-culture assay of angiogenesis – until recently, a comparatively underemployed assay, but one with a number of powerful advantages for angiogenesis research. We give a set of optimized protocols for its use, including protocols for siRNA (small interfering RNA)-based screens, and we discuss appropriate methods for obtaining quantitative data from the assay.
The intracellular trafficking of receptors provides a way to control the overall sensitivity of a cell to receptor stimulation. These sorting pathways are also used to shape the balance of signals that are generated in response to receptor activation. The major pro-angiogenic growth factor receptor is VEGFR2 (vascular endothelial growth factor 2). VEGFR2 activates a very similar set of signalling pathways to other RTKs (receptor tyrosine kinases); however, its intracellular trafficking is very different. Furthermore, VEGFR2 can form a complex with a range of different angiogenic regulators that in turn regulate the trafficking of VEGFR2 through the endosomal pathway. This regulated trafficking of VEGFR2 has important consequences for angiogenic signalling and is a clear demonstration of how the endosomal pathway plays a critical role in connecting receptor signalling pathways to cellular events.