Research in this proposal focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying embryonic vascular development. Previous studies have demonstrated that a number of growth factor/signaling molecules play essential roles during formation of the original blood vessel network in the embryo. These include VEGF, angiopoietin, specific Notch pathway components and also certain ephrins. Using the frog and chick embryos as model systems, we have preliminary evidence showing that two additional growth factors are involved in regulation of embryonic vasculogenesis. First, we show that signaling by hedgehog family proteins is essential for vascular tube formation. Second, we have evidence suggesting that apelin signaling through its G-protein coupled receptor, APJ, is also important for initial patterning of the vascular system. Two of the specific aims of this proposal are designed to further explore the role of these signaling pathways in vascular development. Finally, we are investigating the origin of the original vascular endothelial precursor cells (angioblasts) in the embryo. We propose to identify possible regulators of angioblast formation, by determining which transcription factors are required for expression of the definitive angioblast marker VEGFR-2 (also called ilk-1 or KDR).
The specific aims of the experiments in the proposal are as follows; (1). To further characterize the function of hedgehog signaling in vascular development, 2) To explore the role of apelin signaling during vascular development, (3). To identify DNA regulatory elements essential for VEGFR-2 expression in angioblasts and thereby to determine which transcription factors are required for defining the angioblast lineage. The long term goal of our research is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying patterning and development of embryonic vascular tissues. Given the conservation of basic mechanisms underlying vertebrate development, it is extremely likely that results obtained using chick and frog embryos will be directly applicable to understanding formation of the embryonic vasculature in other organisms, including humans. This research has broad significance because the basic mechanisms underlying embryonic vascular development are likely to be reiterated during blood vessel formation associated with tumorogenesis, wound healing and vascular repair.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research A Study Section (CVA)
Program Officer
Schramm, Charlene A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Arizona
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Moran, Carlos M; Myers, Candace T; Lewis, Cristy M et al. (2012) Hedgehog regulates angiogenesis of intersegmental vessels through the VEGF signaling pathway. Dev Dyn 241:1034-42
Warkman, Andrew S; Whitman, Samantha A; Miller, Melanie K et al. (2012) Developmental expression and cardiac transcriptional regulation of Myh7b, a third myosin heavy chain in the vertebrate heart. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken) 69:324-35
Meadows, Stryder M; Fletcher, Peter J; Moran, Carlos et al. (2012) Integration of repulsive guidance cues generates avascular zones that shape mammalian blood vessels. Circ Res 110:34-46
Moran, Carlos M; Salanga, Matthew C; Krieg, Paul A (2011) Hedgehog signaling regulates size of the dorsal aortae and density of the plexus during avian vascular development. Dev Dyn 240:1354-64
Salanga, Matthew C; Meadows, Stryder M; Myers, Candace T et al. (2010) ETS family protein ETV2 is required for initiation of the endothelial lineage but not the hematopoietic lineage in the Xenopus embryo. Dev Dyn 239:1178-87
Meadows, Stryder M; Salanga, Matthew C; Krieg, Paul A (2009) Kruppel-like factor 2 cooperates with the ETS family protein ERG to activate Flk1 expression during vascular development. Development 136:1115-25
Moran, Carlos M; Garriock, Robert J; Miller, Melanie K et al. (2008) Expression of the fast twitch troponin complex, fTnT, fTnI and fTnC, in vascular smooth muscle. Cell Motil Cytoskeleton 65:652-61
Hardy, Katharine M; Garriock, Robert J; Yatskievych, Tatiana A et al. (2008) Non-canonical Wnt signaling through Wnt5a/b and a novel Wnt11 gene, Wnt11b, regulates cell migration during avian gastrulation. Dev Biol 320:391-401
Meadows, Stryder M; Warkman, Andrew S; Salanga, Matthew C et al. (2008) The myocardin-related transcription factor, MASTR, cooperates with MyoD to activate skeletal muscle gene expression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105:1545-50
Garriock, Robert J; Warkman, Andrew S; Meadows, Stryder M et al. (2007) Census of vertebrate Wnt genes: isolation and developmental expression of Xenopus Wnt2, Wnt3, Wnt9a, Wnt9b, Wnt10a, and Wnt16. Dev Dyn 236:1249-58

Showing the most recent 10 out of 14 publications