Scl isoforms act downstream of etsrp to specify angioblasts and definitive hematopoietic stem cells.
ABSTRACT: Recent lineage studies suggest that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) may be derived from endothelial cells. However, the genetic hierarchy governing the emergence of HSCs remains elusive. We report here that zebrafish ets1-related protein (etsrp), which is essential for vascular endothelial development, also plays a critical role in the initiation of definitive hematopoiesis by controlling the expression of 2 stem cell leukemia (scl) isoforms (scl-alpha and scl-beta) in angioblasts. In etsrp morphants, which are deficient in endothelial and HSC development, scl-alpha alone partially rescues angioblast specification, arterial-venous differentiation, and the expression of HSC markers, runx1 and c-myb, whereas scl-beta requires angioblast rescue by fli1a to restore runx1 expression. Interestingly, when vascular endothelial growth factor (Vegf) signaling is inhibited, HSC marker expression can still be restored by scl-alpha in etsrp morphants, whereas the rescue of arterial ephrinb2a expression is blocked. Furthermore, both scl isoforms partially rescue runx1 but not ephrinb2a expression in embryos deficient in Vegf signaling. Our data suggest that downstream of etsrp, scl-alpha and fli1a specify the angioblasts, whereas scl-beta further initiates HSC specification from this angioblast population, and that Vegf signaling acts upstream of scl-beta during definitive hematopoiesis.
Project description:During embryonic development, multiple signaling pathways control specification, migration, and differentiation of the vascular endothelial cell precursors, angioblasts. No single gene responsible for the commitment of mesenchymal cells to the angioblast cell fate has been identified as yet. Here we report characterization and functional studies of Etsrp, a novel zebrafish ETS domain protein. etsrp embryonic expression is only restricted to vascular endothelial cells and their earliest precursors. Morpholino knockdown of Etsrp protein function resulted in the complete absence of circulation in zebrafish embryos. Angioblasts in etsrp-morpholino-injected embryos (morphants) failed to undergo migration and differentiation and did not coalesce into functional blood vessels. Expression of all vascular endothelial molecular markers tested was severely reduced in etsrp morphants, whereas hematopoietic markers were not affected. Overexpression of etsrp RNA caused multiple cell types to express vascular endothelial markers. etsrp RNA restored expression of vascular markers in cloche mutants, defective in hematopoietic and endothelial cell formation, arguing that etsrp functions downstream of cloche in angioblast formation. etsrp gene function was also required for endothelial marker induction by the vascular endothelial growth factor (vegf) and stem cell leukemia (scl/tal1). These results demonstrate that Etsrp is necessary and sufficient for the initiation of vasculogenesis.
Project description:Endothelial cells are developmentally derived from angioblasts specified in the mesodermal germ cell layer. The transcription factor etsrp/etv2 is at the top of the known genetic hierarchy for angioblast development. The transcriptional events that induce etsrp expression and angioblast specification are not well understood.We generated etsrp:gfp transgenic zebrafish and used them to identify regulatory regions and transcription factors critical for etsrp expression and angioblast specification from mesoderm.To investigate the mechanisms that initiate angioblast cell transcription during embryogenesis, we have performed promoter analysis of the etsrp locus in zebrafish. We describe three enhancer elements sufficient for endothelial gene expression when place in front of a heterologous promoter. The deletion of all 3 regulatory regions led to a near complete loss of endothelial expression from the etsrp promoter. One of the enhancers, located 2.3 kb upstream of etsrp contains a consensus FOX binding site that binds Foxc1a and Foxc1b in vitro by EMSA and in vivo using ChIP. Combined knockdown of foxc1a/b, using morpholinos, led to a significant decrease in etsrp expression at early developmental stages as measured by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization. Decreased expression of primitive erythrocyte genes scl and gata1 was also observed, whereas pronephric gene pax2a was relatively normal in expression level and pattern.These findings identify mesodermal foxc1a/b as a direct upstream regulator of etsrp in angioblasts. This establishes a new molecular link in the process of mesoderm specification into angioblast.
Project description:The hemangioblast is a multipotential progenitor, which is derived from the mesoderm and can further differentiate into hematopoietic and endothelial lineages. The molecular mechanism governing the specification of hemangioblasts is fundamental to regenerative medicine based on embryonic stem cells for the treatment of various hematologic and vascular diseases. Here we show that aggf1 acts at the top of the genetic regulatory hierarchy in the specification of hemangioblasts in zebrafish. Knockdown of aggf1 expression decreases expression of endothelial cell-specific markers (cdh5, admr) and disrupts primitive hematopoiesis as shown by a decreased number of erythroid cells and reduced expression of gata1 (marker for erythroid progenitors) and pu.1 (myeloid progenitors). Aggf1 knockdown also decreases expression of runx1 and c-myb, indicating that it is required for specification of hematopoietic stem cells (definitive hematopoiesis). Aggf1 knockdown led to dramatically reduced expression of hemangioblast markers fli1, etsrp, lmo2, and scl, and hematopoietic/endothelial defects in aggf1 morphants were rescued by messenger RNA for scl, fli-vp16, or etsrp. Taken together, these data indicate that aggf1 is involved in differentiation of both hematopoietic and endothelial lineages and that aggf1 acts upstream of scl, fli1, and etsrp in specification of hemangioblasts.
Project description:Erg, a member of the ETS family of transcription factors, has been implicated by previous studies in endothelial and haematopoietic development. Deregulation of the human ERG locus is associated with acute myeloid leukaemia, prostate cancer and Ewing's sarcoma. To better understand the role of Erg during early development, we utilised the zebrafish as a model amenable to descriptive and functional studies in vivo. Zebrafish have a single erg gene that is expressed in mesoderm and its vascular derivatives during angioblast migration, vasculogenesis and early angiogenesis. Mutant and morphant expression analyses placed erg in a genetic pathway downstream of cloche, tal1/scl and etsrp during early angioblast migration. Furthermore, a combination of gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies suggested a redundant yet specific role for erg in both angioblast specification/proliferation and early angiogenesis, and a synergistic interaction with the critical ETS factor etsrp.
Project description:To evaluate potential roles of nitric oxide (NO) in the regulation of the endothelial lineage and neovascular processes (vasculogenesis and angiogenesis) we evaluated endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and phosphorylated eNOS (p-eNOS) expression in 7.2-8.5 days post-coitum (dpc) mouse embryos. Analysis revealed that p-eNOS((S1177)) but not P-eNOS((S617)) or P-eNOS((T495)) was expressed in a subpopulation of angioblasts (TAL-1(+)/Flk-1(+)/CD31(-)/CD34(-)/VE-Cadherin(-)) at 7.2 dpc. A role of the VEGF/Akt1/eNOS signaling pathway in the regulation of the endothelial cell (EC) lineage was suggested by the strong correlation observed between cell division and p-eNOS((S1177)) expression in both angioblasts and embryonic endothelial cells (EECs, TAL-1(+)/Flk-1(+)/CD31(+)/CD34(+)/VE-Cadherin(+)). Our studies using Akt1 null mouse embryos show a reduction in p-eNOS((S1177)) expression in angioblast and EECs that is correlated with a decrease in endothelial cell proliferation and results in changes in VEGF-induced vascular patterning. Further, we show that VEGF-mediated cell proliferation in Flk-1(+) cells in allantoic cultures is decreased by pharmacological inhibitors of the VEGF/Akt1/eNOS signaling pathways. Taken together, our findings suggest that VEGF-mediated eNOS phosphorylation on Ser1177 regulates angioblast and EEC division, which underlies the formation of blood vessels and vascular networks.
Project description:Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) development is regulated by several signaling pathways and a number of key transcription factors, which include Scl/Tal1, Runx1, and members of the Smad family. However, it remains unclear how these various determinants interact. Using a genome-wide computational screen based on the well characterized Scl +19 HSC enhancer, we have identified a related Smad6 enhancer that also targets expression to blood and endothelial cells in transgenic mice. Smad6, Bmp4, and Runx1 transcripts are concentrated along the ventral aspect of the E10.5 dorsal aorta in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros region from which HSCs originate. Moreover, Smad6, an inhibitor of Bmp4 signaling, binds and inhibits Runx1 activity, whereas Smad1, a positive mediator of Bmp4 signaling, transactivates the Runx1 promoter. Taken together, our results integrate three key determinants of HSC development; the Scl transcriptional network, Runx1 activity, and the Bmp4/Smad signaling pathway.
Project description:A genomic variant in the human ADTRP [androgen-dependent tissue factor (TF) pathway inhibitor (TFPI) regulating protein] gene increases the risk of coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. TFPI is the TF pathway inhibitor that is involved in coagulation. Here, we report that adtrp and tfpi form a regulatory axis that specifies primitive myelopoiesis and definitive hematopoiesis, but not primitive erythropoiesis or vasculogenesis. In zebrafish, there are 2 paralogues for adtrp (i.e., adtrp1 and adtrp2). Knockdown of adtrp1 expression inhibits the specification of hemangioblasts, as shown by decreased expression of the hemangioblast markers, etsrp, fli1a, and scl; blocks primitive hematopoiesis, as shown by decreased expression of pu.1, mpo, and l-plastin; and disrupts the specification of hematopoietic stem cells (definitive hematopoiesis), as shown by decreased expression of runx1 and c-myb However, adtrp1 knockdown does not affect erythropoiesis during primitive hematopoiesis (no effect on gata1 or h-bae1) or vasculogenesis (no effect on kdrl, ephb2a, notch3, dab2, or flt4). Knockdown of adtrp2 expression does not have apparent effects on all markers tested. Knockdown of adtrp1 reduced the expression of tfpi, and hematopoietic defects in adtrp1 morphants were rescued by tfpi overexpression. These data suggest that the regulation of tfpi expression is one potential mechanism by which adtrp1 regulates primitive myelopoiesis and definitive hematopoiesis.-Wang, L., Wang, X., Wang, L., Yousaf, M., Li, J., Zuo, M., Yang, Z., Gou, D., Bao, B., Li, L., Xiang, N., Jia, H., Xu, C., Chen, Q., Wang, Q. K. Identification of a new adtrp1-tfpi regulatory axis for the specification of primitive myelopoiesis and definitive hematopoiesis.
Project description:A key step in the de novo formation of the embryonic vasculature is the migration of endothelial precursors, the angioblasts, to the position of the future vessels. To form the first axial vessels, angioblasts migrate towards the midline and coalesce underneath the notochord. Vascular endothelial growth factor has been proposed to serve as a chemoattractant for the angioblasts and to regulate this medial migration. Here we challenge this model and instead demonstrate that angioblasts rely on their intrinsic expression of Apelin receptors (Aplr, APJ) for their migration to the midline. We further show that during this angioblast migration Apelin receptor signaling is mainly triggered by the recently discovered ligand Elabela (Ela). As neither of the ligands Ela or Apelin (Apln) nor their receptors have previously been implicated in regulating angioblast migration, we hereby provide a novel mechanism for regulating vasculogenesis, with direct relevance to physiological and pathological angiogenesis.
Project description:Corneal avascularity is important for optical clarity and normal vision. However, the molecular mechanisms that prevent angioblast migration and vascularization of the developing cornea are not clear. Previously we showed that periocular angioblasts and forming ocular blood vessels avoid the presumptive cornea despite dynamic ingression of neural crest cells. In the current study, we investigate the role of Semaphorin3A (Sema3A), a cell guidance chemorepellent, on angioblast migration and corneal avascularity during development. We show that Sema3A, Vegf, and Nrp1 are expressed in the anterior eye during cornea development. Sema3A mRNA transcripts are expressed at significantly higher levels than Vegf in the lens that is positioned adjacent to the presumptive cornea. Blockade of Sema3A signaling via lens removal or injection of a synthetic Sema3A inhibitor causes ectopic migration of angioblasts into the cornea and results in its subsequent vascularization. In addition, using bead implantation, we demonstrate that exogenous Sema3A protein inhibits Vegf-induced vascularization of the cornea. In agreement with these findings, loss of Sema/Nrp1 signaling in Nrp1(Sema-) mutant mice results in ectopic angioblasts and vascularization of the embryonic mouse corneas. Altogether, our results reveal Sema3A signaling as an important cue during the establishment of corneal avascularity in both chick and mouse embryos. Our study introduces cornea development as a new model for studying the mechanisms involved in vascular patterning during embryogenesis and it also provides new insights into therapeutic potential for Sema3A in neovascular diseases.
Project description:scube1 (signal peptide-CUB (complement protein C1r/C1s, Uegf, and Bmp1)-EGF domain-containing protein 1), the founding member of a novel secreted and cell surface SCUBE protein family, is expressed predominantly in various developing tissues in mice. However, its function in primitive hematopoiesis remains unknown. In this study, we identified and characterized zebrafish scube1 and analyzed its function by injecting antisense morpholino-oligonucleotide into embryos. Whole-mount in situ hybridization revealed that zebrafish scube1 mRNA is maternally expressed and widely distributed during early embryonic development. Knockdown of scube1 by morpholino-oligonucleotide down-regulated the expression of marker genes associated with early primitive hematopoietic precursors (scl) and erythroid (gata1 and hbbe1), as well as early (pu.1) and late (mpo and l-plastin) myelomonocytic lineages. However, the expression of an early endothelial marker fli1a and vascular morphogenesis appeared normal in scube1 morphants. Overexpression of bone morphogenetic protein (bmp) rescued the expression of scl in the posterior lateral mesoderm during early primitive hematopoiesis in scube1 morphants. Biochemical and molecular analysis revealed that Scube1 could be a BMP co-receptor to augment BMP signaling. Our results suggest that scube1 is critical for and functions at the top of the regulatory hierarchy of primitive hematopoiesis by modulating BMP activity during zebrafish embryogenesis.