Blood flow suppresses vascular Notch signalling via dll4 and is required for angiogenesis in response to hypoxic signalling.
ABSTRACT: The contribution of blood flow to angiogenesis is incompletely understood. We examined the effect of blood flow on Notch signalling in the vasculature of zebrafish embryos, and whether blood flow regulates angiogenesis in zebrafish with constitutively up-regulated hypoxic signalling.Developing zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos survive via diffusion in the absence of circulation induced by knockdown of cardiac troponin T2 or chemical cardiac cessation. The absence of blood flow increased vascular Notch signalling in 48 h post-fertilization old embryos via up-regulation of the Notch ligand dll4. Despite this, patterning of the intersegmental vessels is not affected by absent blood flow. We therefore examined homozygous vhl mutant zebrafish that have constitutively up-regulated hypoxic signalling. These display excessive and aberrant angiogenesis from 72 h post-fertilization, with significantly increased endothelial number, vessel diameter, and length. The absence of blood flow abolished these effects, though normal vessel patterning was preserved.We show that blood flow suppresses vascular Notch signalling via down-regulation of dll4. We have also shown that blood flow is required for angiogenesis in response to hypoxic signalling but is not required for normal vessel patterning. These data indicate important differences in hypoxia-driven vs. developmental angiogenesis.
Project description:Angiogenic sprouting needs to be tightly controlled. It has been suggested that the Notch ligand dll4 expressed in leading tip cells restricts angiogenesis by activating Notch signalling in trailing stalk cells. Here, we show using live imaging in zebrafish that activation of Notch signalling is rather required in tip cells. Notch activation initially triggers expression of the chemokine receptor cxcr4a. This allows for proper tip cell migration and connection to the pre-existing arterial circulation, ultimately establishing functional arterial-venous blood flow patterns. Subsequently, Notch signalling reduces cxcr4a expression, thereby preventing excessive blood vessel growth. Finally, we find that Notch signalling is dispensable for limiting blood vessel growth during venous plexus formation that does not generate arteries. Together, these findings link the role of Notch signalling in limiting angiogenesis to its role during artery formation and provide a framework for our understanding of the mechanisms underlying blood vessel network expansion and maturation.
Project description:Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels by endothelial cells, is a finely tuned process relying on the balance between promoting and repressing signalling pathways. Among these, Notch signalling is critical in ensuring appropriate response of endothelial cells to pro-angiogenic stimuli. However, the downstream targets and pathways effected by Delta-like 4 (DLL4)/Notch signalling and their subsequent contribution to angiogenesis are not fully understood. We found that the Rho GTPase, RHOQ, is induced by DLL4 signalling and that silencing RHOQ results in abnormal sprouting and blood vessel formation both in vitro and in vivo. Loss of RHOQ greatly decreased the level of Notch signalling, conversely overexpression of RHOQ promoted Notch signalling. We describe a new feed-forward mechanism regulating DLL4/Notch signalling, whereby RHOQ is induced by DLL4/Notch and is essential for the NICD nuclear translocation. In the absence of RHOQ, Notch1 becomes targeted for degradation in the autophagy pathway and NICD is sequestered from the nucleus and targeted for degradation in lysosomes.
Project description:Notch signalling is a key intercellular communication mechanism that is essential for cell specification and tissue patterning, and which coordinates critical steps of blood vessel growth. Although subtle alterations in Notch activity suffice to elicit profound differences in endothelial behaviour and blood vessel formation, little is known about the regulation and adaptation of endothelial Notch responses. Here we report that the NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase SIRT1 acts as an intrinsic negative modulator of Notch signalling in endothelial cells. We show that acetylation of the Notch1 intracellular domain (NICD) on conserved lysines controls the amplitude and duration of Notch responses by altering NICD protein turnover. SIRT1 associates with NICD and functions as a NICD deacetylase, which opposes the acetylation-induced NICD stabilization. Consequently, endothelial cells lacking SIRT1 activity are sensitized to Notch signalling, resulting in impaired growth, sprout elongation and enhanced Notch target gene expression in response to DLL4 stimulation, thereby promoting a non-sprouting, stalk-cell-like phenotype. In vivo, inactivation of Sirt1 in zebrafish and mice causes reduced vascular branching and density as a consequence of enhanced Notch signalling. Our findings identify reversible acetylation of the NICD as a molecular mechanism to adapt the dynamics of Notch signalling, and indicate that SIRT1 acts as rheostat to fine-tune endothelial Notch responses.
Project description:Arteriogenesis requires growth of pre-existing arteriolar collateral networks and determines clinical outcome in arterial occlusive diseases. Factors responsible for the development of arteriolar collateral networks are poorly understood. The Notch ligand Delta-like 4 (Dll4) promotes arterial differentiation and restricts vessel branching. We hypothesized that Dll4 may act as a genetic determinant of collateral arterial networks and functional recovery in stroke and hind limb ischemia models in mice. Genetic loss- and gain-of-function approaches in mice showed that Dll4-Notch signaling restricts pial collateral artery formation by modulating arterial branching morphogenesis during embryogenesis. Adult Dll4(+/-) mice showed increased pial collateral numbers, but stroke volume upon middle cerebral artery occlusion was not reduced compared with wild-type littermates. Likewise, Dll4(+/-) mice showed reduced blood flow conductance after femoral artery occlusion, and, despite markedly increased angiogenesis, tissue ischemia was more severe. In peripheral arteries, loss of Dll4 adversely affected excitation-contraction coupling in arterial smooth muscle in response to vasopressor agents and arterial vessel wall adaption in response to increases in blood flow, collectively contributing to reduced flow reserve. We conclude that Dll4-Notch signaling modulates native collateral formation by acting on vascular branching morphogenesis during embryogenesis. Dll4 furthermore affects tissue perfusion by acting on arterial function and structure. Loss of Dll4 stimulates collateral formation and angiogenesis, but in the context of ischemic diseases such beneficial effects are overruled by adverse functional changes, demonstrating that ischemic recovery is not solely determined by collateral number but rather by vessel functionality.
Project description:Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, is a vital process for tissue growth and development. The Notch cell-cell signalling pathway plays an important role in endothelial cell specification during angiogenesis. Dll4 - Notch1 signalling directs endothelial cells into migrating tip or proliferating stalk cells. We used the directing properties of Dll4 to spatially control endothelial cell fate and the direction of endothelial sprouts. We created linear arrays of immobilized Dll4 using micro contact printing. HUVECs were seeded perpendicular to these Dll4 patterns using removable microfluidic channels. The Notch activating properties of surface immobilized Dll4 were confirmed by qPCR. After induction of sprouting, microscopic images of fluorescently labelled endothelial sprouts were analysed to determine the direction and the efficiency of controlled sprouting (Ecs). Directionality analysis of the sprouts showed the Dll4 pattern changes sprout direction from random to unidirectional. This was confirmed by the increase of Ecs from 54.5?±?3.1% for the control, to an average of 84.7?±?1.86% on the Dll4 patterned surfaces. Our data demonstrates a surface-based method to spatially pattern Dll4 to gain control over endothelial sprout location and direction. This suggests that spatial ligand patterning can be used to provide control over (neo) vascularization.
Project description:Delta-like 4 (DLL4) and Jagged1 (JAG1) are two key Notch ligands implicated in tumour angiogenesis. They were shown to have opposite effects on mouse retinal and adult regenerative angiogenesis. In tumours, both ligands are upregulated but their relative effects and interactions in tumour biology, particularly in tumour response to therapeutic intervention are unclear. Here we demonstrate that DLL4 and JAG1 displayed equal potency in stimulating Notch target genes in HMEC-1 endothelial cells but had opposing effects on sprouting angiogenesis in vitro. Mouse DLL4 or JAG1 expressed in glioblastoma cells decreased tumour cell proliferation in vitro but promoted tumour growth in vivo. mDLL4-expressing tumours showed fewer but larger vessels whereas mJAG1-tumours produced more vessels. In both tumour types pericyte coverage was decreased but the vessels were more perfused. Both ligands increased tumour resistance towards anti-VEGF therapy but the resistance was higher in mDLL4-tumours versus mJAG1-tumours. However, their sensitivity to the therapy was restored by blocking Notch signalling with dibenzazepine. Importantly, anti-DLL4 antibody blocked the effect of JAG1 on tumour growth and increased vessel branching in vivo. The mechanism behind the differential responsiveness was due to a positive feedback loop for DLL4-Notch signalling, rendering DLL4 more dominant in activating Notch signalling in the tumour microenvironment. We concluded that DLL4 and JAG1 promote tumour growth by modulating tumour angiogenesis via different mechanisms. JAG1 is not antagonistic but utilises DLL4 in tumour angiogenesis. The results suggest that anti-JAG1 therapy should be explored in conjunction with anti-DLL4 treatment in developing anti-Notch therapies in clinics.
Project description:Sprouting angiogenesis drives blood vessel growth in healthy and diseased tissues. Vegf and Dll4/Notch signalling cooperate in a negative feedback loop that specifies endothelial tip and stalk cells to ensure adequate vessel branching and function. Current concepts posit that endothelial cells default to the tip-cell phenotype when Notch is inactive. Here we identify instead that the stalk-cell phenotype needs to be actively repressed to allow tip-cell formation. We show this is a key endothelial function of neuropilin-1 (Nrp1), which suppresses the stalk-cell phenotype by limiting Smad2/3 activation through Alk1 and Alk5. Notch downregulates Nrp1, thus relieving the inhibition of Alk1 and Alk5, thereby driving stalk-cell behaviour. Conceptually, our work shows that the heterogeneity between neighbouring endothelial cells established by the lateral feedback loop of Dll4/Notch utilizes Nrp1 levels as the pivot, which in turn establishes differential responsiveness to TGF-?/BMP signalling.
Project description:Notch signaling controls fundamental aspects of angiogenic blood vessel growth including the selection of sprouting tip cells, endothelial proliferation and arterial differentiation. The E3 ubiquitin ligase Fbxw7 is part of the SCF protein complex responsible for the polyubiquitination and thereby proteasomal degradation of substrates such as Notch, c-Myc and c-Jun. Here, we show that Fbxw7 is a critical regulator of angiogenesis in the mouse retina and the zebrafish embryonic trunk, which we attribute to its role in the degradation of active Notch. Growth of retinal blood vessel was impaired and the Notch ligand Dll4, which is also a Notch target, upregulated in inducible and endothelial cell-specific Fbxw7(iECKO) mutant mice. The stability of the cleaved and active Notch intracellular domain was increased after siRNA knockdown of the E3 ligase in cultured human endothelial cells. Injection of fbxw7 morpholinos interfered with the sprouting of zebrafish intersegmental vessels (ISVs). Arguing strongly that Notch and not other Fbxw7 substrates are primarily responsible for these phenotypes, the genetic inactivation of Notch pathway components reversed the impaired ISV growth in the zebrafish embryo as well as sprouting and proliferation in the mouse retina. Our findings establish that Fbxw7 is a potent positive regulator of angiogenesis that limits the activity of Notch in the endothelium of the growing vasculature.
Project description:During angiogenesis, single endothelial cells (EC) specialize into tip cells that guide vessel sprouting towards growth factor gradients and instruct the adjacent vessel stalk. The balance between tip and stalk cells is regulated by endothelial Notch signalling through the expression of Notch ligand Delta-like 4 (Dll4) in tip cells, which suppresses a tip cell fate in adjacent stalk cells. Here we show, using genetic reporter and conditional deletion strategies, that myeloid cells regulate tip cell numbers and Dll4 expression via the Notch ligand Dll1 during vascular development in the retina. Dll1 is selectively expressed by a subpopulation of retinal myeloid cells, which progressively localizes to the sprouting vascular network. Conditional, myeloid-specific deletion of Dll1 impairs endothelial Dll4 tip-stalk gradient resulting in an increase of endothelial tip cells and EC filopodia, accompanied by an increase in vascular density and branching. In vitro, co-culture of human EC with monocyte-derived macrophages induced Dll1 upregulation in macrophages and Dll4 upregulation and an endothelial tip cell signature in EC. Furthermore, culturing human EC on recombinant DLL1 induced endothelial Dll4 expression and a tip cell program, indicating that changes are Dll1-dependent. Thus, myeloid cells regulate tip cell fate and angiogenesis through expression of Notch ligand Dll1.
Project description:Formation of a regularly branched blood vessel network is crucial in development and physiology. Here we show that the expression of the Notch ligand Dll4 fluctuates in individual endothelial cells within sprouting vessels in the mouse retina in vivo and in correlation with dynamic cell movement in mouse embryonic stem cell-derived sprouting assays. We also find that sprout elongation and branching associates with a highly differential phase pattern of Dll4 between endothelial cells. Stimulation with pathologically high levels of Vegf, or overexpression of Dll4, leads to Notch dependent synchronization of Dll4 fluctuations within clusters, both in vitro and in vivo. Our results demonstrate that the Vegf-Dll4/Notch feedback system normally operates to generate heterogeneity between endothelial cells driving branching, whilst synchronization drives vessel expansion. We propose that this sensitive phase transition in the behaviour of the Vegf-Dll4/Notch feedback loop underlies the morphogen function of Vegfa in vascular patterning.