September 5, 2011

When you hear the word “angiogenesis,” do you start hissing? Many of us associate angiogenesis with tumors on their way to becoming malignant cancer. Well, if it weren’t for angiogenesis, we’d all be in trouble. Angiogenesis is the formation of blood vessels from pre-existing ones, and is a key process during development.

Blood vessels are the tubular structures that transport all of the good stuff in our blood. The formation of blood vessels depends on angiogenesis, the process in which vessels are created from pre-existing ones. Angiogenesis is a tightly regulated process, as the blood vessels in many organs have a stereotypic organization, abundance, and shape. For example, zebrafish embryos have a regular pattern of blood vessels sprouting from the aorta, along the trunk of the fish. A recent paper describes the importance of Semaphorin-PlexinD1 signaling in the organization of these blood vessels. According to Zygmunt and colleagues, Semaphorin-PlexinD1 signaling ensures the correct spatial distribution and number of blood vessels along the embryo’s trunk. Without correct Semaphorin-PlexinD1 signaling, too many vessels sprout along the aorta, as seen in the images above. Normal embryos (left) have a very regular pattern of blood vessels (green, "SeA") sprouting up, while embryos lacking Semaphorin-PlexinD1 signaling (right) have too many sprouts, with incorrect positioning.

ResearchBlogging.orgZygmunt, T., Gay, C., Blondelle, J., Singh, M., Flaherty, K., Means, P., Herwig, L., Krudewig, A., Belting, H., Affolter, M., Epstein, J., & Torres-Vázquez, J. (2011). Semaphorin-PlexinD1 Signaling Limits Angiogenic Potential via the VEGF Decoy Receptor sFlt1 Developmental Cell DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2011.06.033
Copyright ©2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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