Tie2 expression and phosphorylation in angiogenic and quiescent adult tissues.
Angiogenesis, the process of new vessels sprouting from the existing vasculature, is a critical process during early development. However, angiogenesis rarely occurs in the adult, except in response to cyclic hormonal stimulation in the ovary and uterus, in response to injury, and in response to pathological conditions such as tumorigenesis and diabetes mellitus. Tie2 (also known as Tek) is a novel endothelium-specific receptor tyrosine kinase, which has been demonstrated to be essential for the development of the embryonic vasculature; Tie2 knockout mice die by embryonic day 10.5 with specific defects in the formation of microvessels. Tie2 is downregulated later in embryogenesis, and its function in the adult has been relatively unexplored. To gain insight into the potential functions of Tie2 in the adult vasculature, Tie2 expression was examined in adult tissues undergoing angiogenesis and in quiescent tissues. Tie2 expression was localized by immunohistochemistry to the endothelium of neovessels in rat tissues undergoing angiogenesis during hormonally stimulated follicular maturation and uterine development and in healing skin wounds. Immunoprecipitation and RNase protection assay demonstrated upregulation of Tie2 protein and mRNA in rat and mouse skin wounds, respectively. Moreover, Tie2 immunoprecipitated from skin wounds was tyrosine-phosphorylated, indicating active downstream signaling. Surprisingly, Tie2 was also expressed in the entire spectrum of the quiescent vasculature (arteries, veins, and capillaries) in a wide range of adult tissues, and Tie2 immunoprecipitated from quiescent adult tissues was also tyrosine-phosphorylated. Together, these results suggest a dual function for Tie2 in adult tissues involving both angiogenesis and vascular maintenance.
Wong, AL; Haroon, ZA; Werner, S; Dewhirst, MW; Greenberg, CS; Peters, KG
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