Vascular sprout formation entails tissue deformations and VE-cadherin-dependent cell-autonomous motility.
ABSTRACT: Embryonic and fetal vascular sprouts form within constantly expanding tissues. Nevertheless, most biological assays of vascular spouting are conducted in a static mechanical milieu. Here we study embryonic mouse allantoides, which normally give raise to an umbilical artery and vein. However, when placed in culture, allantoides assemble a primary vascular network. Unlike other in vitro assays, allantoic primordial vascular cells are situated on the upper surface of a cellular layer that is engaged in robust spreading motion. Time-lapse imaging allows quantification of primordial vascular cell motility as well as the underlying mesothelial tissue motion. Specifically, we calculate endothelial cell-autonomous motion by subtracting the tissue-level mesothelial motion from the total endothelial cell displacements. Formation of new vascular polygons is hindered by administration of function-blocking VE-cadherin antibodies. Time-lapse recordings reveal that (1) cells at the base of sprouts normally move distally "over" existing sprout cells to form new tip-cells; and (2) loss of VE-cadherin activity prevents this motile behavior. Thus, endothelial cell-cell-adhesion-based motility is required for the advancement of vascular sprouts within a moving tissue environment. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that couples endogenous tissue dynamics to assembly of vascular networks in a mammalian system.
Project description:Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) guides the path of new vessel sprouts by inducing VEGF receptor-2 activity in the sprout tip. In the stalk cells of the sprout, VEGF receptor-2 activity is downregulated. Here, we show that VEGF receptor-2 in stalk cells is dephosphorylated by the endothelium-specific vascular endothelial-phosphotyrosine phosphatase (VE-PTP). VE-PTP acts on VEGF receptor-2 located in endothelial junctions indirectly, via the Angiopoietin-1 receptor Tie2. VE-PTP inactivation in mouse embryoid bodies leads to excess VEGF receptor-2 activity in stalk cells, increased tyrosine phosphorylation of VE-cadherin and loss of cell polarity and lumen formation. Vessels in ve-ptp(-/-) teratomas also show increased VEGF receptor-2 activity and loss of endothelial polarization. Moreover, the zebrafish VE-PTP orthologue ptp-rb is essential for polarization and lumen formation in intersomitic vessels. We conclude that the role of Tie2 in maintenance of vascular quiescence involves VE-PTP-dependent dephosphorylation of VEGF receptor-2, and that VEGF receptor-2 activity regulates VE-cadherin tyrosine phosphorylation, endothelial cell polarity and lumen formation.
Project description:Pericytes are critical for microvascular stability and maintenance, among other important physiological functions, yet their involvement in vessel formation processes remains poorly understood. To gain insight into pericyte behaviors during vascular remodeling, we developed two complementary tissue explant models utilizing 'double reporter' animals with fluorescently-labeled pericytes and endothelial cells (via Ng2:DsRed and Flk-1:eGFP genes, respectively). Time-lapse confocal imaging of active vessel remodeling within adult connective tissues and embryonic skin revealed a subset of pericytes detaching and migrating away from the vessel wall. Vessel-associated pericytes displayed rapid filopodial sampling near sprouting endothelial cells that emerged from parent vessels to form nascent branches. Pericytes near angiogenic sprouts were also more migratory, initiating persistent and directional movement along newly forming vessels. Pericyte cell divisions coincided more frequently with elongating endothelial sprouts, rather than sprout initiation sites, an observation confirmed with in vivo data from the developing mouse brain. Taken together, these data suggest that (i) pericyte detachment from the vessel wall may represent an important physiological process to enhance endothelial cell plasticity during vascular remodeling, and (ii) pericyte migration and proliferation are highly synchronized with endothelial cell behaviors during the coordinated expansion of a vascular network.
Project description:Adipose tissue expansion involves the enlargement of existing adipocytes, the formation of new cells from committed preadipocytes, and the coordinated development of the tissue vascular network. Here we find that murine endothelial cells (ECs) of classic white and brown fat depots share ultrastructural characteristics with pericytes, which are pluripotent and can potentially give rise to preadipocytes. Lineage tracing experiments using the VE-cadherin promoter reveal localization of reporter genes in ECs and also in preadipocytes and adipocytes of white and brown fat depots. Furthermore, capillary sprouts from human adipose tissue, which have predominantly EC characteristics, are found to express Zfp423, a recently identified marker of preadipocyte determination. In response to PPAR? activation, endothelial characteristics of sprouting cells are progressively lost, and cells form structurally and biochemically defined adipocytes. Together these data support an endothelial origin of murine and human adipocytes, suggesting a model for how adipogenesis and angiogenesis are coordinated during adipose tissue expansion.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The development of models that incorporate intact microvascular networks enables the investigation of multicellular dynamics during angiogenesis. Our laboratory introduced the rat mesentery culture model as such a tool, which would be enhanced with mouse tissue. Since mouse mesentery is avascular, an alternative is mouse mesometrium, the connective tissue of uterine horns. The study's objective was to demonstrate that mouse mesometrium contains microvascular networks that can be cultured to investigate multicellular dynamics during angiogenesis. METHODS:Harvested mesometrium tissues from C57Bl/6 female mice were cultured in media with serum for up to 7 days. PECAM, NG2, ?SMA, and LYVE-1 labeling identified endothelial cells, pericytes, smooth muscle cells, and lymphatic endothelial cells, respectively. RESULTS:These cells comprised microvascular networks with arterioles, venules, and capillaries. Compared to day 0, capillary sprouts per vascular length were increased by 3 and 5 days in culture (day 0, 0.08 ± 0.01; day 3, 3.19 ± 0.78; day 5, 2.49 ± 0.05 sprouts/mm; p < 0.05). Time-lapse imaging of cultured tissues from FlkEGFP mice showcases the use of the model for lineage studies. The impact is supported by the identification of endothelial cell jumping from one sprout to another. CONCLUSION:These results introduce a novel culture model for investigating multicellular dynamics during angiogenesis in real-time ex vivo microvascular networks.
Project description:Recirculation of fluid and cells through lymphatic vessels plays a key role in normal tissue homeostasis, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Despite recent advances in understanding lymphatic function (Alitalo, K., T. Tammela, and T.V. Petrova. 2005. Nature. 438:946-953), the cellular features responsible for entry of fluid and cells into lymphatics are incompletely understood. We report the presence of novel junctions between endothelial cells of initial lymphatics at likely sites of fluid entry. Overlapping flaps at borders of oak leaf-shaped endothelial cells of initial lymphatics lacked junctions at the tip but were anchored on the sides by discontinuous button-like junctions (buttons) that differed from conventional, continuous, zipper-like junctions (zippers) in collecting lymphatics and blood vessels. However, both buttons and zippers were composed of vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) and tight junction-associated proteins, including occludin, claudin-5, zonula occludens-1, junctional adhesion molecule-A, and endothelial cell-selective adhesion molecule. In C57BL/6 mice, VE-cadherin was required for maintenance of junctional integrity, but platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 was not. Growing tips of lymphatic sprouts had zippers, not buttons, suggesting that buttons are specialized junctions rather than immature ones. Our findings suggest that fluid enters throughout initial lymphatics via openings between buttons, which open and close without disrupting junctional integrity, but most leukocytes enter the proximal half of initial lymphatics.
Project description:Angiogenesis and vascular remodeling are driven by extensive endothelial cell movements. Here, we present in vivo evidence that endothelial cell movements are associated with oscillating lamellipodia-like structures, which emerge from cell junctions in the direction of cell movements. High-resolution time-lapse imaging of these junction-based lamellipodia (JBL) shows dynamic and distinct deployment of junctional proteins, such as F-actin, VE-cadherin and ZO1, during JBL oscillations. Upon initiation, F-actin and VE-cadherin are broadly distributed within JBL, whereas ZO1 remains at cell junctions. Subsequently, a new junction is formed at the front of the JBL, which then merges with the proximal junction. Rac1 inhibition interferes with JBL oscillations and disrupts cell elongation-similar to a truncation in ve-cadherin preventing VE-cad/F-actin interaction. Taken together, our observations suggest an oscillating ratchet-like mechanism, which is used by endothelial cells to move over each other and thus provides the physical means for cell rearrangements.
Project description:The collective migration of vascular endothelial cells plays important roles in homeostasis and angiogenesis. Oxygen concentration <i>in vivo</i>, which is lower than in the atmosphere and changes due to diseases, is a key factor affecting the cellular dynamics of vascular endothelial cells. We previously reported that hypoxic conditions promote the internalization of vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin, a specific cell-cell adhesion molecule, and increase the velocity of the collective migration of vascular endothelial cells. However, the mechanism through which cells regulate collective migration as affected by oxygen tension is not fully understood. Here, we investigated oxygen-dependent collective migration, focusing on intracellular protein p21-activated kinase (PAK) and hypoxia-inducing factor (HIF)-1α. A monolayer of human umbilical vein vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs) was formed in a microfluidic device with controllability of oxygen tension. The HUVECs were then exposed to various oxygen conditions in a range from 0.8% to 21% O<sub>2</sub>, with or without PAK inhibition or chemical stabilization of HIF-1α. Collective cell migration was measured by particle image velocimetry with time-lapse phase-contrast microscopic images. Localizations of VE-cadherin and HIF-1α were quantified by immunofluorescent staining. The collective migration of HUVECs varied in an oxygen-dependent fashion; the migration speed was increased by hypoxic exposure down to 1% O<sub>2</sub>, while it decreased under an extremely low oxygen tension of less than 1% O<sub>2</sub>. PAK inhibition suppressed the hypoxia-induced increase of the migration speed by preventing VE-cadherin internalization into HUVECs. A decrease in the migration speed was also obtained by chemical stabilization of HIF-1α, suggesting that excessive accumulation of HIF-1α diminishes collective cell migration. These results indicate that the oxygen-dependent variation of the migration speed of vascular endothelial cells is mediated by the regulation of VE-cadherin through the PAK pathway, as well as other mechanisms via HIF-1α, especially under extreme hypoxic conditions.
Project description:It is known that dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) can be induced to differentiate into vasculogenic endothelial (VE) cells. However, the process that results in sprouting and anastomosis of DPSC-derived vessels remains unclear. Here, we performed studies to understand the mechanisms underpinning the anastomosis of the host vasculature with blood vessels generated by DPSCs (a model for mesenchymal stem cells). VE-cadherin-silenced primary human DPSCs seeded in tooth slice/scaffolds and transplanted into the subcutaneous space of immunodeficient mice generated fewer functional blood vessels (i.e., anastomosed with the host vasculature) than control DPSCs transduced with scrambled sequences. Both VE-cadherin-silenced and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 1 (MEK1)-silenced cells showed a decrease in the number of capillary sprouts in vitro. Interestingly, DPSC stably transduced with a VE-cadherin reporter demonstrated that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces VE-cadherin expression in sprouting DPSCs undergoing anastomosis, but not in quiescent DPSCs. To begin to understand the mechanisms regulating VE-cadherin, we stably silenced MEK1 and observed that VEGF was no longer able to induce VE-cadherin expression and capillary sprout formation. Notably ERG, a transcriptional factor downstream from MEK/ERK, binds to the promoter region of VE-cadherin (chip assay) and is induced by VEGF in DPSCs. Collectively, these data defined a signaling pathway triggered by VEGF that results in phosphorylation of MEK1/ERK and activation of ERG leading to expression of VE-cadherin, which is required for anastomosis of DPSC-derived blood vessels. In conclusion, these results unveiled a signaling pathway that enables the generation of functional blood vessels upon vasculogenic differentiation of DPSCs.
Project description:Angiopoietins 1 and 2, ligands for the receptor kinase Tie-2, have been proposed to play critical but opposing roles in vascular development. Since signaling by Tie-2 is likely affected by other endothelial cell receptors such as Flk-1, the receptor for VEGF, and cell-cell adhesion receptors PECAM1 and VE-cad, we explored their interactions in a 3D model of vasculogenesis. When murine embryoid bodies (EBs) were treated with VEGF in Matrigel in the presence or absence of Ang-1 or Ang-2 for eight days, Ang-1 abrogated vascular sprouting for treatments started at days 0 or 3. In contrast, Ang-2 greatly accelerated vascular sprouting compared to untreated EBs. These results were confirmed in a second model system where VEGF treated HUVECs were grown in Matrigel in the presence or absence of Ang-1 or Ang-2. Since vascular sprouting must be precisely controlled in the developing embryo, it is likely that cell-cell adhesion molecules play a role in sensing the density of vascular sprouts. In this respect, we have shown that PECAM1 and CEACAM1 play essential roles in vascular sprouting. We now show that PECAM1 is associated with Tie-2, becomes phosphorylated on its ITIMs, and recruits the inhibitory phosphatases SHP-1 and SHP-2. In addition, PECAM1 is associated with VE-cad and may similarly regulate its signaling via recruitment of SHP-1/2.
Project description:Unchecked inflammation is a hallmark of inflammatory tissue injury in diseases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Yet the mechanisms of inflammatory lung injury remain largely unknown. Here we showed that bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and cecal ligation and puncture-induced (CLP-induced) polymicrobial sepsis decreased the expression of transcription factor cAMP response element binding (CREB) in lung endothelial cells. We demonstrated that endothelial CREB was crucial for VE-cadherin transcription and the formation of the normal restrictive endothelial adherens junctions. The inflammatory cytokine IL-1? reduced cAMP generation and CREB-mediated transcription of VE-cadherin. Furthermore, endothelial cell-specific deletion of CREB induced lung vascular injury whereas ectopic expression of CREB in the endothelium prevented the injury. We also observed that rolipram, which inhibits type 4 cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase-mediated (PDE4-mediated) hydrolysis of cAMP, prevented endotoxemia-induced lung vascular injury since it preserved CREB-mediated VE-cadherin expression. These data demonstrate the fundamental role of the endothelial cAMP-CREB axis in promoting lung vascular integrity and suppressing inflammatory injury. Therefore, strategies aimed at enhancing endothelial CREB-mediated VE-cadherin transcription are potentially useful in preventing sepsis-induced lung vascular injury in ARDS.