Induction of VEGF Expression by Alpha-Tocopherol and Alpha-Tocopheryl Phosphate via PI3Kγ/PKB and hTAP1/SEC14L2-Mediated Lipid Exchange

Jean Marc Zingg, Angelo Azzi, Mohsen Meydani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In several studies, vitamin E has been observed to influence angiogenesis and vasculogenesis. We recently showed that the phosphorylated form of α-tocopherol (αT), α-tocopheryl phosphate (αTP), increases the expression of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Thus, αTP may act as an active lipid mediator increasing VEGF expression, angiogenesis, and vasculogenesis. Here, we investigated the molecular signaling mechanisms by which αTP induces VEGF expression using cultured HEK293 cells as model system. αT and more so αTP increased VEGF-promoter activity in a phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase gamma (PI3Kγ)-dependent manner. In contrast, after overexpression of PI3Kγ and/or protein kinase B (PKB), VEGF promoter activity was inhibited by αT and more so by αTP. Inhibition by αT and αTP was dependent on the lipid kinase activity of PI3Kγ, whereas an induction was seen with the protein kinase activity, consistent with a model in which PKB inhibition by αT or αTP occurs only when activated at the plasma membrane and possibly involves a phosphatase such as PHLPP1. PI3Kγ-induced VEGF expression was reduced when the human tocopherol-associated protein 1 (hTAP1/SEC14L2) was overexpressed suggesting formation of an inactive PI3Kγ/hTAP1 heterodimer, that could be reactivated by αT and more so by αTP. We suggest a novel signaling mechanism by which αTP stimulates PI3Kγ activity by stimulating hTAP-mediated phosphatidylinositol exchange and presentation to the enzyme and/or dissociation of an inactive heterodimer. At cellular level, hTAP may act as sensor for intracellular lipid information (location, type, and amount of lipid) and translate it into responses of PI3K-mediated signaling and gene expression. J. Cell. Biochem. 116: 398-407, 2015.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-407
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • hTAP
  • PI3K
  • PI3Kγ
  • PKB
  • SPF
  • VEGF
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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