NIH Research Festival
Angiogenesis produces primitive vascular networks that need pruning to yield hierarchically organized and functional vessels. Despite the critical importance of vessel pruning to vessel patterning and function, the mechanisms regulating this process are not clear. Here we show that EphrinB2, a well-known player in angiogenesis, is an essential regulator of endothelial cell death and vessel pruning. This regulation depends upon phosphotyrosine-EphrinB2 signalling repressing c-jun N-terminal kinase 3 activity via STAT1. JNK3 activation causes endothelial cell death. In the absence of JNK3, hyaloid vessel physiological pruning is impaired, associated with abnormal persistence of hyaloid vessels, defective retinal vasculature and microphthalmia. This syndrome closely resembles human persistent hyperplastic primary vitreus (PHPV), attributed to failed involution of hyaloid vessels. Our results provide evidence that EphrinB2/STAT1/JNK3 signalling is essential for vessel pruning, and that defects in this pathway may contribute to PHPV.
Scientific Focus Area: Cell Biology
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