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Keywords:

  • β1 integrin;
  • Tie-2 Cre;
  • endothelial cells;
  • angiogenesis

Abstract

Integrins are a family of cell adhesion receptors that are involved in cell–matrix and cell–cell communications. They facilitate cell proliferation, migration, and survival. Using the Cre-Lox system, we deleted β1 integrin on Tie2-positive (Tie2-cre β1 Int fl/fl) vascular endothelial cells. Deletion of β1 integrin on vascular endothelial cells results in embryonic lethality. Blood vessel defects are encountered in the Tie2-Cre β1 Int fl/fl embryos at embryonic age (E9.5), and embryos die before reaching E10.5. The embryos exhibit growth retardation and both histological evaluation and PECAM-1 staining of E9.5 embryos revealed defects in angiogenic sprouting and vascular branching morphogenesis. Large and medium-size vessel formation is not affected in these embryos. Angiogenic defects were observed in several regions of the embryo and yolk sacs. These results indicate that β1 integrin expression on vascular endothelial cells is crucial for embryonic angiogenesis but dispensable for vasculogenesis. Developmental Dynamics 237:75–82, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.