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

Rat aorta-derived mural precursor cells express the Tie2 receptor and respond directly to stimulation by angiopoietins.

Recent studies have implicated the Tie2 tyrosine-kinase receptor and its main ligands--angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) and angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2)--as crucial regulators of mural cell recruitment during angiogenesis. Angiopoietin-mediated activation of Tie2 promotes perivascular mural cell assembly, but the mechanisms regulating this process are poorly understood because differentiated mural cells do not have the Tie2 receptor, which is reportedly expressed only in endothelial cells. There is also no direct evidence that Tie2 activation results in production of mural cell chemoattractants by the endothelium. In the rat aorta model of angiogenesis, developing microvessels recruit mural cells from the intimal/subintimal layers of the aortic wall. Ang-1 and Ang-2 promote angiogenesis in this system, stimulating branching morphogenesis and mural cell assembly. Mural precursor cells (MPCs) isolated with a nonenzymatic method from the intimal aspect of the rat aorta were positive for smooth muscle cell markers (alpha-smooth muscle actin and calponin) and negative for endothelial markers (factor-VIII-related antigen and CD31). These cells responded chemotactically to Ang-1 and Ang-2, and secreted MMP-2 when treated with these factors. Western-blot analysis, immunocytochemistry and RT-PCR demonstrated that MPCs express the Tie2 receptor. Immunoprecipitation showed phosphorylation of MPC Tie2 on tyrosine residues upon stimulation with Ang-1 or Ang-2. Surface expression of Tie2 was further demonstrated by isolating Tie2+/alpha-smooth muscle actin+ MPCs from primary aortic outgrowths with anti-Tie2-IgG-coated magnetic beads. Immunostaining of the rat aorta confirmed expression of Tie2 not only in endothelial cells but also in nonendothelial mesenchymal cells located in the aortic intimal/subintimal layers, which are the source of MPCs. These data indicate that the aortic wall contains Tie2+ nonendothelial mesenchymal cells and suggest that Tie2-related recruitment of mural cells during angiogenesis may occur through angiopoietin-mediated direct stimulation of these cells.[1]


  1. Rat aorta-derived mural precursor cells express the Tie2 receptor and respond directly to stimulation by angiopoietins. Iurlaro, M., Scatena, M., Zhu, W.H., Fogel, E., Wieting, S.L., Nicosia, R.F. J. Cell. Sci. (2003) [Pubmed]
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