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Alba Lopez Rioja, Ashton Faulkner, and Harry Mellor

The endothelial barrier is a tightly regulated gateway in the transport of material between circulation and the tissues. Inflammatory mediators such as thrombin are able to open paracellular spaces in the endothelial monolayer to allow the extravasation of plasma proteins and leukocytes. Here we show that the protein SLIT-ROBO Rho GTPase-activating protein 2 (srGAP2) plays a critical role in regulating the extent of thrombin-mediated opening. We show that srGAP2 is not required for normal barrier function in resting endothelial cells, but that depletion of srGAP2 significantly increases the magnitude and duration of junctional opening in response to thrombin. We show that srGAP2 acts to switch off RhoA signaling after the contraction phase of thrombin-induced permeability, allowing respreading of cells and reformation of the barrier. srGAP2 is also required for effective restoration of the barrier after treatment with two other vasoactive agents that active RhoA – TNFα and angiotensin II. Taken together, we show that srGAP2 has a general function in controlling RhoA signaling in endothelial permeability, acting to limit the degree and duration of opening, by triggering the switch from endothelial cell contraction to respreading.