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|Title:||Identification of Flk-1-target genes in vasculogenesis: Pim-1 is required for endothelial and mural cell differentiation in vitro.||Authors:||A., Zippo
A., DE ROBERTIS
The tyrosine kinase receptor fetal liver kinase 1 (Flk-1) plays a crucial role in vasculogenesis and angiogenesis, but its target genes remain elusive. Comparing Flk-1(+/+) with Flk-1(-/-) embryonic stem (ES) cells, we identified transcripts regulated by the vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A)/Flk-1 pathway at an early stage of their differentiation to endothelial and mural precursors. Further analysis of a number of these genes (Nm23-M1, Nm23-M2, Slug, Set, pp32, Cbp, Ship-1, Btk, and Pim-1) showed that their products were transiently up-regulated in vivo in endothelial cells (ECs) during angiogenesis of the ovary, and their mRNA was rapidly induced in vitro by VEGF-A in human umbilical cord vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Functional analysis by RNA interference (RNAi) in ES cells induced to differentiate demonstrated that Pim-1 is required for their differentiation into ECs and smooth muscle cells (SMCs). In HUVECs, RNAi showed that Pim-1 is required in ECs for VEGF-A-dependent proliferation and migration. The identification of Flk-1 target genes should help in elucidating the molecular pathways that govern the vasculogenesis and angiogenesis processes.
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