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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Coexpression of endothelial PAS protein 1 with essential angiogenic factors suggests its involvement in human vascular development.

Endothelial PAS protein 1 (EPAS1) is a bHLH-PAS transcription factor involved in cellular response to hypoxia. Its precise role in angiogenesis is unclear, but several genes essential to vascular development, including those encoding vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), its receptor VEGFR-2 and Tie2, are thought to be targets of EPAS1. To investigate whether this transcription factor and its putative targets were expressed concomitantly, we performed in situ hybridization on serial adjacent sections of human embryos at gestational ages of 3 to 6 weeks. We studied expression of the genes encoding EPAS1, VEGF, VEGFR-1, and -2, Tie2, and its ligands, angiopoietin (Ang) 1 and 2. We also compared these expression profiles with that of hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha (HIF1alpha). EPAS1 transcripts were detected in several types of endothelial cell: in blood vessels walls, the endocardium, the glomeruli of the mesonephros, and the sinusoids of the liver. In these endothelial cells, expression of EPAS1 systematically or partly coincided with Tie2 and the VEGF receptors expression. There was also some overlap between the sites of synthesis of EPAS1 and VEGF mRNAs, principally in hepatocytes and sympathetic ganglion cells. In addition, we found that EPAS1 and HIF1alpha transcripts were often colocalized, suggesting a functional redundancy of these two transcription factors during development. These observations are consistent with transactivation by EPAS1 of the expression of its putative target genes during embryogenesis, suggesting that this transcription factor is involved in human angiogenesis. They provide evidence that EPAS1 is involved in the regulation of vascular maturation, remodeling, or stabilization rather than in the early steps of embryonic angiogenesis.[1]


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