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.
Project description:Diabetes mellitus in pregnancy causes defects in infant heart, including the outflow tracts (OFTs). Development of the aorta and pulmonary artery, which are derived from the common OFT in the embryo, is regulated by the transforming growth factor ? (TGF?) and Wnt families, and can be perturbed by hyperglycemia-generated intracellular stress conditions. However, the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms remain to be delineated.Female mice were induced diabetic with streptozotocin. Embryonic and fetal OFTs were examined morphologically and histologically. Cell proliferation was assessed using 5'-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine incorporation assay. Oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress markers and TGF? factors were detected using immunohistochemistry. The expression of genes in the Wnt-signaling system was assessed using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction array. The role of activin-A in cell proliferation was addressed by treating embryos cultured in high glucose with activin-A.Maternal diabetes caused complex abnormalities in the OFTs, including aortic and pulmonary stenosis and persistent truncus arteriosus. The development of the endocardial cushions was suppressed, manifested with insufficient cellularization of the tissues. Cell proliferation was significantly decreased under oxidative and ER stress conditions. The expression of genes in the Wnt signaling was significantly altered. Activin-A and Smad3 were found to be expressed in the OFT. Treatment with activin-A rescued cell proliferation in the endocardial cushions.Maternal diabetes generates oxidative and ER stress conditions, suppresses TGF? and Wnt signaling, inhibits cell proliferation and cellularization of the endocardial cushions, leading to OFT septal defects. Activin-A plays a role in hyperglycemia-suppressed proliferation of the endocardial cells.
Project description:Vascular diseases are characterized by the over-proliferation and migration of aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs), and degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) within the vessel wall, leading to compromise in cell-cell and cell-matrix signaling pathways. Tissue engineering approaches to regulate SMC over-proliferation and enhance healthy ECM synthesis showed promise, but resulted in low crosslinking efficiency. Here, we report the benefits of exogenous nitric oxide (NO) cues, delivered from S-Nitrosoglutathione (GSNO), to cell proliferation and matrix deposition by adult human aortic SMCs (HA-SMCs) within three-dimensional (3D) biomimetic cocultures. A coculture platform with two adjacent, permeable 3D culture chambers was developed to enable paracrine signaling between vascular cells. HA-SMCs were cultured in these chambers within collagen hydrogels, either alone or in the presence of human aortic endothelial cells (HA-ECs) cocultures, and exogenously supplemented with varying GSNO dosages (0-100?nM) for 21 days. Results showed that EC cocultures stimulated SMC proliferation within GSNO-free cultures. With increasing GSNO concentration, HA-SMC proliferation decreased in the presence or absence of EC cocultures, while HA-EC proliferation increased. GSNO (100?nM) significantly enhanced the protein amounts synthesized by HA-SMCs, in the presence or absence of EC cocultures, while lower dosages (1-10?nM) offered marginal benefits. Multi-fold increases in the synthesis and deposition of elastin, glycosaminoglycans, hyaluronic acid, and lysyl oxidase crosslinking enzyme (LOX) were noted at higher GSNO dosages, and coculturing with ECs significantly furthered these trends. Similar increases in TIMP-1 and MMP-9 levels were noted within cocultures with increasing GSNO dosages. Such increases in matrix synthesis correlated with NO-stimulated increases in endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression within EC and SMC cultures, respectively. Results attest to the benefits of delivering NO cues to suppress SMC proliferation and promote robust ECM synthesis and deposition by adult human SMCs, with significant applications in tissue engineering, biomaterial scaffold development, and drug delivery.
Project description:Primary cilia are cellular protrusions that serve as mechanosensors for fluid flow. In endothelial cells (ECs), they function by transducing local blood flow information into functional responses, such as nitric oxide production and initiation of gene expression. Cilia are present on ECs in areas of low or disturbed flow and absent in areas of high flow. In the embryonic heart, high-flow regime applies to the endocardial cushion area, and the absence of cilia here coincides with the process of endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndoMT).In this study, we investigated the role of the primary cilium in defining the responses of ECs to fluid shear stress and in EndoMT.Nonciliated mouse embryonic ECs with a mutation in Tg737/Ift88 were used to compare the response to fluid shear stress to that of ciliated ECs. In vitro, nonciliated ECs undergo shear-induced EndoMT, which is accompanied by downregulation of Klf4. This Tgf?/Alk5-dependent transformation is prevented by blocking Tgf? signaling, overexpression of Klf4, or rescue of the primary cilium. In the hearts of Tg737(orpk/orpk) embryos, Tgf?/Alk5 signaling was activated in areas in which ECs would normally be ciliated but now lack cilia because of the mutation. In these areas, ECs show increased Smad2 phosphorylation and expression of ?-smooth muscle actin.This study demonstrates the central role of primary cilia in rendering ECs prone to shear-induced activation of Tgf?/Alk5 signaling and EndoMT and thereby provides a functional link between primary cilia and flow-related endothelial performance.
Project description:Transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) is involved in vascular formation through activin receptor-like kinase (ALK)1 and ALK5. ALK5, which is expressed ubiquitously, phosphorylates Smad2 and Smad3, whereas endothelial cell (EC)-specific ALK1 activates Smad1 and Smad5. Because ALK5 kinase activity is required for ALK1 to transduce TGF-? signaling via Smad1/5 in ECs, ALK5 knockout (KO) mice were not able to give us the precise mechanisms by which TGF-?/ALK5/Smad2/3 signaling is implicated in angiogenesis. To delineate the role of Smad2/3 signaling in endothelium, the Smad2 gene in Smad3 KO mice was selectively deleted in ECs using Tie2-Cre transgenic mice, termed EC-specific Smad2/3 double KO (EC-Smad2/3KO) mice. EC-Smad2/3KO embryos revealed hemorrhage leading to embryonic lethality around E12.5. EC-Smad2/3KO embryos exhibited no abnormality of vasculogenesis and angiogenesis in both the yolk sac and the whole embryo, whereas vascular maturation was incomplete because of inadequate assembly of mural cells in the vasculature. Wide gaps between ECs and mural cells could be observed in the vasculature of EC-Smad2/3KO mice because of reduced expression of N-cadherin and sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor-1 (S1PR1) in ECs from those mice. These results indicated that Smad2/3 signaling in ECs is indispensable for maintenance of vascular integrity via the fine-tuning of N-cadherin, VE-cadherin, and S1PR1 expressions in the vasculature.
Project description:Vascular endothelial cells (ECs) are continuously exposed to blood flow that contributes to the maintenance of vessel structure and function; however, the effect of hemodynamic forces on transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?) signaling in the endothelium is poorly described. We examined the potential role of TGF-? signaling in mediating the protective effects of shear stress on ECs.Human umbilical vein ECs (HUVECs) exposed to shear stress were compared with cells grown under static conditions. Signaling through the TGF-? receptor ALK5 was inhibited with SB525334. Cells were examined for morphological changes and harvested for analysis by real-time polymerase chain reaction, Western blot analysis, apoptosis, proliferation, and immunocytochemistry. Shear stress resulted in ALK5-dependent alignment of HUVECs as well as attenuation of apoptosis and proliferation compared with static controls. Shear stress led to an ALK5-dependent increase in TGF-?3 and Krüppel-like factor 2, phosphorylation of endothelial NO synthase, and NO release. Addition of the NO donor S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine rescued the cells from apoptosis attributable to ALK5 inhibition under shear stress. Knockdown of TGF-?3, but not TGF-?1, disrupted the HUVEC monolayer and prevented the induction of Krüppel-like factor 2 by shear.Shear stress of HUVECs induces TGF-?3 signaling and subsequent activation of Krüppel-like factor 2 and NO, and represents a novel role for TGF-?3 in the maintenance of HUVEC homeostasis in a hemodynamic environment.
Project description:VE-cadherin is an endothelial-specific transmembrane protein concentrated at cell-to-cell adherens junctions. Besides promoting cell adhesion and controlling vascular permeability, VE-cadherin transfers intracellular signals that contribute to vascular stabilization. However, the molecular mechanism by which VE-cadherin regulates vascular homoeostasis is still poorly understood. Here, we report that VE-cadherin expression and junctional clustering are required for optimal transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) signalling in endothelial cells (ECs). TGF-beta antiproliferative and antimigratory responses are increased in the presence of VE-cadherin. ECs lacking VE-cadherin are less responsive to TGF-beta/ALK1- and TGF-beta/ALK5-induced Smad phosphorylation and target gene transcription. VE-cadherin coimmunoprecipitates with all the components of the TGF-beta receptor complex, TbetaRII, ALK1, ALK5 and endoglin. Clustered VE-cadherin recruits TbetaRII and may promote TGF-beta signalling by enhancing TbetaRII/TbetaRI assembly into an active receptor complex. Taken together, our data indicate that VE-cadherin is a positive and EC-specific regulator of TGF-beta signalling. This suggests that reduction or inactivation of VE-cadherin may contribute to progression of diseases where TGF-beta signalling is impaired.
Project description:In endothelial cells, two type I receptors of the transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?) family, ALK1 and ALK5, coordinate to regulate embryonic angiogenesis in response to BMP9/10 and TGF-?. Whereas TGF-? binds to and activates ALK5, leading to Smad2/3 phosphorylation and inhibition of endothelial cell proliferation and migration, BMP9/10 and TGF-? also bind to ALK1, resulting in the activation of Smad1/5. SnoN is a negative regulator of ALK5 signaling through the binding and repression of Smad2/3. Here we uncover a positive role of SnoN in enhancing Smad1/5 activation in endothelial cells to promote angiogenesis. Upon ligand binding, SnoN directly bound to ALK1 on the plasma membrane and facilitated the interaction between ALK1 and Smad1/5, enhancing Smad1/5 phosphorylation. Disruption of this SnoN-Smad interaction impaired Smad1/5 activation and up-regulated Smad2/3 activity. This resulted in defective angiogenesis and arteriovenous malformations, leading to embryonic lethality at E12.5. Thus, SnoN is essential for TGF-?/BMP9-dependent biological processes by its ability to both positively and negatively modulate the activities of Smad-dependent pathways.
Project description:ALK1 belongs to the type I receptor family for transforming growth factor-beta family ligands. Heterozygous ALK1 mutations cause hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia type 2 (HHT2), a multisystemic vascular disorder. Based largely on in vitro studies, TGF-beta1 has been considered as the most likely ALK1 ligand related to HHT, yet the identity of the physiologic ALK1 ligand remains controversial. In cultured endothelial cells, ALK1 and another TGF-beta type I receptor, ALK5, regulate angiogenesis by controlling TGF-beta signal transduction, and ALK5 is required for ALK1 signaling. However, the extent to which such interactions between these 2 receptors play a role in pathogenesis of HHT is unknown. We directly addressed these issues in vivo by comparing the phenotypes of mice in which the Alk1, Alk5, or Tgfbr2 gene was conditionally deleted in restricted vascular endothelia using a novel endothelial Cre transgenic line. Alk1-conditional deletion resulted in severe vascular malformations mimicking all pathologic features of HHT. Yet Alk5- or Tgfbr2-conditional deletion in mice, or Alk5 inhibition in zebrafish, did not affect vessel morphogenesis. These data indicate that neither ALK5 nor TGFBR2 is required for ALK1 signaling pertinent to the pathogenesis of HHT and suggest that HHT might not be a TGF-beta subfamily disease.
Project description:Recently, our group has contrasted an endothelial cell-smooth muscle cell (EC-SMC) co-culture model with 3D-cultured SMCs and found that SMCs could respond to high shear stress (SS), which has not been explored before. SMCs were not directly exposed to the flow but were under an EC monolayer; therefore, it is necessary to explore the influence of EC on SMC behaviors under high SS for understanding the mechanism of SMC response to various magnitudes of SS. In the present study, TGF-?1 expression in ECs in an EC-SMC co-culture model was suppressed by an siRNA transfection method. Next, phenotypic changes were observed and MMP-2 and -9 productions were measured in SMCs in the co-culture model after 72-h flow exposure to different SS levels. We confirmed that TGF-?1 expression in ECs could influence SMC phenotypic change under SS conditions and that TGF-?1 expression in ECs could also change MMP-2 production but not MMP-9 production in SMCs under SS conditions in the co-culture model. These results could be useful for understanding the mechanisms of SMC response to SS, particularly for understanding signal transduction emanating from ECs.
Project description:Using a combination of wild-type (WT) and caveolin-2 (Cav-2) knockout along with retroviral reexpression approaches, we provide the evidence for the negative role of Cav-2 in regulating anti-proliferative function and signaling of transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?) in endothelial cells (ECs). Although, TGF-? had a modest inhibitory effect on WT ECs, it profoundly inhibited proliferation of Cav-2 knockout ECs. To confirm the specificity of the observed difference in response to TGF-?, we have stably reexpressed Cav-2 in Cav-2 knockout ECs using a retroviral approach. Similar to WT ECs, the anti-proliferative effect of TGF-? was dramatically reduced in the Cav-2 reexpressing ECs. The reduced anti-proliferative effect of TGF-? in Cav-2-positive cells was evidenced by three independent proliferation assays: 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), cell count, and bromodeoxyuridine incorporation and correlated with a loss of TGF-?-mediated upregulation of cell cycle inhibitor p27 and subsequent reduction of the levels of hyperphosphorylated (inactive) form of the retinoblastoma protein in Cav-2 reexpressing ECs. Mechanistically, Cav-2 inhibits anti-proliferative action of TGF-? by suppressing Alk5-Smad2/3 pathway manifested by reduced magnitude and length of TGF-?-induced Smad2/3 phosphorylation as well as activation of activin receptor-like kinase-5 (Alk5)-Smad2/3 target genes plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 and collagen type I in Cav-2-positive ECs. Expression of Cav-2 does not appear to significantly change targeting of TGF-? receptors I and Smad2/3 to caveolar and lipid raft microdomains as determined by sucrose fractionation gradient. Overall, the negative regulation of TGF-? signaling and function by Cav-2 is independent of Cav-1 expression levels and is not because of changing targeting of Cav-1 protein to plasma membrane lipid raft/caveolar domains.