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Endothelial TGF-? signaling instructs smooth muscle cell development in the cardiac outflow tract.


ABSTRACT: The development of the cardiac outflow tract (OFT), which connects the heart to the great arteries, relies on a complex crosstalk between endothelial (ECs) and smooth muscle (SMCs) cells. Defects in OFT development can lead to severe malformations, including aortic aneurysms, which are frequently associated with impaired TGF-? signaling. To better understand the role of TGF-? signaling in OFT formation, we generated zebrafish lacking the TGF-? receptor Alk5 and found a strikingly specific dilation of the OFT: alk5-/- OFTs exhibit increased EC numbers as well as extracellular matrix (ECM) and SMC disorganization. Surprisingly, endothelial-specific alk5 overexpression in alk5-/- rescues the EC, ECM, and SMC defects. Transcriptomic analyses reveal downregulation of the ECM gene fibulin-5, which when overexpressed in ECs ameliorates OFT morphology and function. These findings reveal a new requirement for endothelial TGF-? signaling in OFT morphogenesis and suggest an important role for the endothelium in the etiology of aortic malformations.

SUBMITTER: Boezio GL 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7524555 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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