Fzd7 (Frizzled-7) Expressed by Endothelial Cells Controls Blood Vessel Formation Through Wnt/β-Catenin Canonical Signaling
Objective—Vessel formation requires precise orchestration of a series of morphometric and molecular events controlled by a multitude of angiogenic factors and morphogens. Wnt/frizzled signaling is required for proper vascular formation. In this study, we investigated the role of the Fzd7 (frizzled-7) receptor in retinal vascular development and its relationship with the Wnt/β-catenin canonical pathway and Notch signaling.
Approach and Results—Using transgenic mice, we demonstrated that Fzd7 is required for postnatal vascular formation. Endothelial cell (EC) deletion of fzd7 (fzd7ECKO) delayed retinal plexus formation because of an impairment in tip cell phenotype and a decrease in stalk cell proliferation. Dvl (dishevelled) proteins are a main component of Wnt signaling and play a functionally redundant role. We found that Dvl3 depletion in dvl1−/− mice mimicked the fzd7ECKO vascular phenotype and demonstrated that Fzd7 acted via β-catenin activation by showing that LiCl treatment rescued impairment in tip and stalk cell phenotypes induced in fzd7 mutants. Deletion of fzd7 or Dvl1/3 induced a strong decrease in Wnt canonical genes and Notch partners’ expression. Genetic and pharmacological rescue strategies demonstrated that Fzd7 acted via β-catenin activation, upstream of Notch signaling to control Dll4 and Jagged1 EC expression.
Conclusions—Fzd7 expressed by EC drives postnatal angiogenesis via activation of Dvl/β-catenin signaling and can control the integrative interaction of Wnt and Notch signaling during postnatal angiogenesis.
- Received May 5, 2016.
- Accepted September 22, 2016.
- © 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.