Laboratory of Angiogenesis and Neurovascular Link

Leuven, Belgium

Laboratory of Angiogenesis and Neurovascular Link

Leuven, Belgium
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Martin M.,University of Liège | Geudens I.,Vascular Patterning Laboratory | Geudens I.,Catholic University of Leuven | Bruyr J.,University of Liège | And 20 more authors.
EMBO Journal | Year: 2013

To supply tissues with nutrients and oxygen, the cardiovascular system forms a seamless, hierarchically branched, network of lumenized tubes. Here, we show that maintenance of patent vessel lumens requires the Bα regulatory subunit of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Deficiency of Bα in zebrafish precludes vascular lumen stabilization resulting in perfusion defects. Similarly, inactivation of PP2A-Bα in cultured ECs induces tubulogenesis failure due to alteration of cytoskeleton dynamics, actomyosin contractility and maturation of cell-extracellular matrix (ECM) contacts. Mechanistically, we show that PP2A-Bα controls the activity of HDAC7, an essential transcriptional regulator of vascular stability. In the absence of PP2A-Bα, transcriptional repression by HDAC7 is abrogated leading to enhanced expression of the cytoskeleton adaptor protein ArgBP2. ArgBP2 hyperactivates RhoA causing inadequate rearrangements of the EC actomyosin cytoskeleton. This study unravels the first specific role for a PP2A holoenzyme in development: the PP2A-Bα/HDAC7/ArgBP2 axis maintains vascular lumens by balancing endothelial cytoskeletal dynamics and cell-matrix adhesion. © 2013 European Molecular Biology Organization.


Luca R.,Center for the Biology of Disease | Luca R.,Catholic University of Leuven | Averna M.,Center for the Biology of Disease | Averna M.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 40 more authors.
EMBO Molecular Medicine | Year: 2013

The role of the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) is well established in brain, where its absence leads to the fragile X syndrome (FXS). FMRP is almost ubiquitously expressed, suggesting that, in addition to its effects in brain, it may have fundamental roles in other organs. There is evidence that FMRP expression can be linked to cancer. FMR1 mRNA, encoding FMRP, is overexpressed in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. A decreased risk of cancer has been reported in patients with FXS while a patient-case with FXS showed an unusual decrease of tumour brain invasiveness. However, a role for FMRP in regulating cancer biology, if any, remains unknown. We show here that FMRP and FMR1 mRNA levels correlate with prognostic indicators of aggressive breast cancer, lung metastases probability and triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). We establish that FMRP overexpression in murine breast primary tumours enhances lung metastasis while its reduction has the opposite effect regulating cell spreading and invasion. FMRP binds mRNAs involved in epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasion including E-cadherin and Vimentin mRNAs, hallmarks of EMT and cancer progression. © 2013 The Authors. Published by John Wiley and Sons, Ltd on behalf of EMBO.


Manesia J.K.,Catholic University of Leuven | Xu Z.,Catholic University of Leuven | Broekaert D.,Catholic University of Leuven | Boon R.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 14 more authors.
Stem Cell Research | Year: 2015

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the fetal liver (FL) unlike adult bone marrow (BM) proliferate extensively, posing different metabolic demands. However, metabolic pathways responsible for the production of energy and cellular building blocks in FL HSCs have not been described. Here, we report that FL HSCs use oxygen dependent energy generating pathways significantly more than their BM counterparts. RNA-Seq analysis of E14.5 FL versus BM derived HSCs identified increased expression levels of genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) and the citric acid cycle (TCA). We demonstrated that FL HSCs contain more mitochondria than BM HSCs, which resulted in increased levels of oxygen consumption and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Higher levels of DNA repair and antioxidant pathway gene expression may prevent ROS-mediated (geno)toxicity in FL HSCs. Thus, we here for the first time highlight the underestimated importance of oxygen dependent pathways for generating energy and building blocks in FL HSCs. © 2015 The Authors.


Rico C.,University of Montréal | Dodelet-Devillers A.,University of Montréal | Paquet M.,University of Montréal | Tsoi M.,University of Montréal | And 4 more authors.
Biology of Reproduction | Year: 2014

Recent evidence has suggested that vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) is an important regulator of ovarian follicle development and survival. Both LH and FSH regulate Vegfa expression in granulosa cells and signal via the transcription factor hypoxia inducible factor 1 (HIF1). To further study the mechanism of action of HIF1 in the regulation of Vegfa, we studied Vegfadelta/delta mice, which lack a hypoxia response element in the Vegfa promoter. Granulosa cells from Vegfadelta/delta mice failed to respond to FSH or LH with an increase in Vegfa mRNA expression in vitro, and granulosa cells isolated from eCG-treated immature Vegfadelta/delta mice had significantly lower Vegfa mRNA levels compared to controls. However, normal Vegfa mRNA levels were detected in the granulosa cells from immature Vegfadelta/delta mice following hCG treatment. Vegfadelta/delta females produced infrequent litters, and their pups died shortly after birth. Ovaries from Vegfadelta/delta mice were much smaller than controls and contained few antral follicles and corpora lutea. Antral follicles numbers were decreased by nearly 50% in ovaries from Vegfadelta/delta mice relative to controls, and 74% of antral follicles in Vegfadelta/delta ovaries were atretic. Serum progesterone levels in adult Vegfadelta/delta females were significantly lower, apparently reflecting reduced numbers of corpora lutea. This study demonstrates for the first time the requirement of HIF1 for FSH-regulated Vegfa expression in vivo and that HIF1 acts via a single hypoxia response element in the Vegfa promoter to exert its regulatory functions. Our findings also further define the physiological role of VEGFA in follicle development. © 2014 by the Society for the Study of Reproduction, Inc.

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