01 Jun Norrin, Frizzled4, and Lrp5 signaling in endothelial cells controls a genetic program for retinal vascularization
Cell. 2009 October 16 139(2): 285–298
Xin Ye, Yanshu Wang, Hugh Cahill, Minzhong Yu, Tudor C. Badea, Philip M. Smallwood, Neal S. Peachey, and Jeremy Nathans
Disorders of vascular structure and function play a central role in a wide variety of CNS diseases. Mutations in the Frizzled4 (Fz4) receptor, Lrp5 co-receptor, or Norrin ligand cause retinal hypovascularization, but the role of Norrin/Fz4/Lrp signaling in vascular development has not been defined. Using mouse genetic and cell culture models, we show that loss of Fz4 signaling in endothelial cells causes defective vascular growth, which leads to chronic but reversible silencing of retinal neurons. Loss of Fz4 in all endothelial cells disrupts the blood brain barrier in the cerebellum, while excessive Fz4 signaling disrupts embryonic angiogenesis. Sox17, a transcription factor that is up-regulated by Norrin/Fz4/Lrp signaling, plays a central role in inducing the angiogenic program controlled by Norrin/Fz4/Lrp. These experiments establish a cellular basis for retinal hypovascularization diseases due to insufficient Frizzled signaling, and they suggest a broader role for Frizzled signaling in vascular growth, remodeling, maintenance, and disease.