Plexin D1 negatively regulates zebrafish lymphatic development
Lymphangiogenesis is a dynamic process that involves the directed migration of lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) to form lymphatic vessels. The molecular mechanisms that underpin lymphatic vessel patterning are not fully elucidated and, to date, no global regulator of lymphatic vessel guidance is known. In this study, we identify the transmembrane cell signalling receptor Plexin D1 (Plxnd1) as a negative regulator of both lymphatic vessel guidance and lymphangiogenesis in zebrafish. plxnd1 is expressed in developing lymphatics and is required for the guidance of both the trunk and facial lymphatic networks. Loss of plxnd1 is associated with misguided intersegmental lymphatic vessel growth and aberrant facial lymphatic branches. Lymphatic guidance in the trunk is mediated, at least in part, by the Plxnd1 ligands, Semaphorin 3AA and Semaphorin 3C. Finally, we show that Plxnd1 normally antagonises Vegfr/Erk signalling to ensure the correct number of facial LECs and that loss of plxnd1 results in facial lymphatic hyperplasia. As a global negative regulator of lymphatic vessel development, the Sema/Plxnd1 signalling pathway is a potential therapeutic target for treating diseases associated with dysregulated lymphatic growth.
Anatomy and development of the pectoral fin vascular network in the zebrafish
The pectoral fins of teleost fish are analogous structures to human forelimbs, and the developmental mechanisms directing their initial growth and patterning are conserved between fish and tetrapods. The forelimb vasculature is crucial for limb function, and it appears to play important roles during development by promoting development of other limb structures, but the steps leading to its formation are poorly understood. In this study, we use high-resolution imaging to document the stepwise assembly of the zebrafish pectoral fin vasculature. We show that fin vascular network formation is a stereotyped, choreographed process that begins with the growth of an initial vascular loop around the pectoral fin. This loop connects to the dorsal aorta to initiate pectoral vascular circulation. Pectoral fin vascular development continues with concurrent formation of three elaborate vascular plexuses, one in the distal fin that develops into the fin-ray vasculature and two near the base of the fin in association with the developing fin musculature. Our findings detail a complex, yet highly choreographed, series of steps involved in the development of a complete, functional, organ-specific vascular network.
GIPC proteins negatively modulate Plexind1 signaling during vascular development
Semaphorins (SEMAs) and their Plexin (PLXN) receptors are central regulators of metazoan cellular communication. SEMA-PLXND1 signaling plays important roles in cardiovascular, nervous, and immune system development, and cancer biology. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that modulate SEMA-PLXND1 signaling. As PLXND1 associates with GIPC family endocytic adaptors, we evaluated the requirement for the molecular determinants of their association and PLXND1's vascular role. Zebrafish that endogenously express a Plxnd1 receptor with a predicted impairment in GIPC binding exhibit low penetrance angiogenesis deficits and antiangiogenic drug hypersensitivity. Moreover, gipc mutant fish show angiogenic impairments that are ameliorated by reducing Plxnd1 signaling. Finally, GIPC depletion potentiates SEMA-PLXND1 signaling in cultured endothelial cells. These findings expand the vascular roles of GIPCs beyond those of the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)-dependent, proangiogenic GIPC1-Neuropilin 1 complex, recasting GIPCs as negative modulators of antiangiogenic PLXND1 signaling and suggest that PLXND1 trafficking shapes vascular development.
Structure analyses reveal a regulated oligomerization mechanism of the PlexinD1/GIPC/myosin VI complex
The GIPC family adaptor proteins mediate endocytosis by tethering cargo proteins to the myosin VI motor. The structural mechanisms for the GIPC/cargo and GIPC/myosin VI interactions remained unclear. PlexinD1, a transmembrane receptor that regulates neuronal and cardiovascular development, is a cargo of GIPCs. GIPC-mediated endocytic trafficking regulates PlexinD1 signaling. Here we unravel the mechanisms of the interactions among PlexinD1, GIPCs and myosin VI by a series of crystal structures of these proteins in apo or bound states. GIPC1 forms a domain-swapped dimer in an autoinhibited conformation that hinders binding of both PlexinD1 and myosin VI. PlexinD1 binding to GIPC1 releases the autoinhibition, promoting its interaction with myosin VI. GIPCs and myosin VI interact through two distinct interfaces and form an open-ended alternating array. Our data support that this alternating array underlies the oligomerization of the GIPC/Myosin VI complexes in solution and cells.
Aminoacyl-Transfer RNA Synthetase Deficiency Promotes Angiogenesis via the Unfolded Protein Response Pathway
OBJECTIVE: Understanding the mechanisms regulating normal and pathological angiogenesis is of great scientific and clinical interest. In this report, we show that mutations in 2 different aminoacyl-transfer RNA synthetases, threonyl tRNA synthetase (tarsy58) or isoleucyl tRNA synthetase (iarsy68), lead to similar increased branching angiogenesis in developing zebrafish. APPROACH AND RESULTS: The unfolded protein response pathway is activated by aminoacyl-transfer RNA synthetase deficiencies, and we show that unfolded protein response genes atf4, atf6, and xbp1, as well as the key proangiogenic ligand vascular endothelial growth factor (vegfaa), are all upregulated in tarsy58 and iarsy68 mutants. Finally, we show that the protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase-activating transcription factor 4 arm of the unfolded protein response pathway is necessary for both the elevated vegfaa levels and increased angiogenesis observed in tarsy58 mutants. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that endoplasmic reticulum stress acts as a proangiogenic signal via unfolded protein response pathway-dependent upregulation of vegfaa.
Reck enables cerebrovascular development by promoting canonical Wnt signaling
Reck enables cerebrovascular development by promoting canonical Wnt signaling
The cerebral vasculature provides the massive blood supply that the brain needs to grow and survive. By acquiring distinctive cellular and molecular characteristics it becomes the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB), a selectively permeable and protective interface between the brain and the peripheral circulation that maintains the extra-cellular milieu permissive for neuronal activity. Accordingly, there is great interest in uncovering the mechanisms that modulate the formation and differentiation of the brain vasculature. By performing a forward genetic screen in zebrafish we isolated no food for thought (nfty72), a recessive late-lethal mutant that lacks most of the intra-cerebral Central Arteries (CtAs), but not other brain blood vessels. We found that the cerebral vascularization deficit of nfty72 is caused by an inactivating lesion in reck (reversion-inducing-cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motifs or ST15; Suppressor of Tumorigenicity 15 protein), which encodes a membrane-anchored tumor suppressor glycoprotein. Our findings highlight Reck as a novel and pivotal modulator of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway that acts in endothelial cells to enable intra-cerebral vascularization and proper expression of molecular markers associated with BBB formation. Additional studies with cultured endothelial cells suggest that, in other contexts, Reck impacts vascular biology via the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) cascade. Together, our findings have broad implications for both vascular and cancer biology.
Development of functional hindbrain oculomotor circuitry independent of both vascularization and neuronal activity in larval zebrafish
We investigated the contribution of blood vessel formation and neuronal excitability to the development of functional neural circuitry in larval zebrafish by analyzing oculomotor performance in response to visual and vestibular stimuli. To address the dependence of neuronal function on the presence of blood vessels, we compared wild type embryos to reck and cloche mutants that lacked intracerebral blood vessels. To test how neuronal excitability impacts neuronal development and intracerebral vascularization, we blocked neural activity using Tetraodotoxin (TTX) and Tricaine. In reck mutants, we found both slow phase horizontal tracking and fast phase resets with only a slightly reduced amplitude and bandwidth. Spontaneous saccades, eye position holding and vestibular gravitoinertial induced eye rotation were also present. All of these behaviors except for visual tracking were observed in cloche mutants that lacked any head vasculature. Thus, numerous oculomotor neuronal circuits spanning the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain compartments, ending in motor innervations of the eye muscles, were correctly formed and generated appropriate oculomotor behaviors without blood vessels. However, our observations indicate that beginning at approximately six days, circulation was required for sustained behavioral performance. We further found that blocking neuronal excitability with either TTX or Tricaine up to 4-5 days post fertilization did not noticeably interfere with intracerebral blood vessel formation in wild type larvae. After removal of drug treatments, the oculomotor behaviors returned within hours. Thus, development of neuronal circuits that drive oculomotor performance does not require neuronal spiking or activity. Together these findings demonstrate that neither vascularization nor neuronal excitability are essential for the formation of numerous oculomotor nuclei with intricately designed connectivity and signal processing. We conclude that a genetic blueprint specifies early larval structural and physiological features, and this developmental strategy may be viewed as a unique adaptation required for early survival.
Origin, Specification, and Plasticity of the Great Vessels of the Heart
The pharyngeal arch arteries (PAAs) are a series of paired embryonic blood vessels that give rise to several major arteries that connect directly to the heart. During development, the PAAs emerge from nkx2.5-expressing mesodermal cells and connect the dorsal head vasculature to the outflow tract of the heart. Despite their central role in establishing the circulatory system, the embryonic origins of the PAA progenitors are only coarsely defined, and the factors that specify them and their regenerative potential are unclear. Using fate mapping and mutant analysis, we find that PAA progenitors are derived from the tcf21 and nkx2.5 double-positive head mesoderm and require these two transcription factors for their specification and survival. Unexpectedly, cell ablation shows that the tcf21+; nkx2.5+ PAA progenitors are not required for PAA formation. We find that this compensation is due to the replacement of ablated tcf21+; nkx2.5+ PAA cells by endothelial cells from the dorsal head vasculature. Together, these studies assign the embryonic origin of the great vessel progenitors to the interface between the pharyngeal and cardiac mesoderm, identify the transcription factor code required for their specification, and reveal an unexpected plasticity in the formation of the great vessels.
Plexin D1 determines body fat distribution by regulating the type V collagen microenvironment in visceral adipose tissue
Genome-wide association studies have implicated PLEXIN D1 (PLXND1) in body fat distribution and type 2 diabetes. However, a role for PLXND1 in regional adiposity and insulin resistance is unknown. Here we use in vivo imaging and genetic analysis in zebrafish to show that Plxnd1 regulates body fat distribution and insulin sensitivity. Plxnd1 deficiency in zebrafish induced hyperplastic morphology in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and reduced lipid storage. In contrast, subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) growth and morphology were unaffected, resulting in altered body fat distribution and a reduced VAT:SAT ratio in zebrafish. A VAT-specific role for Plxnd1 appeared conserved in humans, as PLXND1 mRNA was positively associated with hypertrophic morphology in VAT, but not SAT. In zebrafish plxnd1 mutants, the effect on VAT morphology and body fat distribution was dependent on induction of the extracellular matrix protein collagen type V alpha 1 (col5a1). Furthermore, after high-fat feeding, zebrafish plxnd1 mutant VAT was resistant to expansion, and excess lipid was disproportionately deposited in SAT, leading to an even greater exacerbation of altered body fat distribution. Plxnd1-deficient zebrafish were protected from high-fat-diet-induced insulin resistance, and human VAT PLXND1 mRNA was positively associated with type 2 diabetes, suggesting a conserved role for PLXND1 in insulin sensitivity. Together, our findings identify Plxnd1 as a novel regulator of VAT growth, body fat distribution, and insulin sensitivity in both zebrafish and humans.