Abstract 5566: Recovery of Erk Signaling Restores Defective Angiogenesis and Arteriogenesis in Synectin-Deficient Animals
Background: Arterial morphogenesis is an important and poorly understood process. We have previously demonstrated that disruption of synectin gene expression in mice and zebrafish results in impaired arterial development and branching morphogenesis. Synectin null endothelial cells demonstrate reduced VEGF responsiveness in terms of migration, proliferation and differentiation and ERK-1/2 activation (Chittenden et al, Dev Cell 2006). Since ERK has been established as major participants in the regulation of cell growth and differentiation and Erk activation has been previously linked to arterial morphogenesis, we evaluated whether activation of Erk signaling in synectin disrupted mice and zebrafish as well as synectin KO arterial endothelial cells (ECs) would restore defective migration, arterial differentiation, angiogenesis and arteriogenesis. To stimulate ERK signaling we used partial inhibition of PI3-K activity to reduce Akt-dependent suppression of Raf1 activation or introduction of constitutively active ERK construct.
Methods: In vitro studies were conducted with primary arterial ECs isolated from synectin wild type (WT) and knock out (KO) mice. In vivo studies were carried out in WT and synectin deficient mice and synectin knockdown zebrafish embryos.
Results: Exposure of synectin−/− arterial EC to two selective PI3K inhibitors GS4898 or LY294002 in vitro restored ERK activation in a dose-dependent manner and returned cell migration and in vitro branching morphogenesis to wild type levels. Transduction of a constitutively active ERK construct in vitro or in a Matrigel model in vivo had similar effect. Systemic treatment of synectin−/− mice with GS4898 fully restored impaired angiogenesis and arterial morphogenesis in adult animals in the setting of hindlimb ischemia. Similar treatment nearly completely restored arterial development defects in zebrafish treated with a synectin morpholino.
Conclusions: ERK activation plays a key role in arteriogenesis both in adult tissues and during embryonic development. Activation of compromised ERK-1/2 signaling may be a novel therapeutic intervention to stimulate arteriogenesis.