The regimented and conserved pattern of the vascular network suggests that specific genetic programs coordinate its formation. Both the nervous and vascular systems begin as central axial structures that send sprouts to distal targets and form complex, highly reproducible and often superimposable networks. The development of the neural network is regulated by combinations of attractive and repulsive cues that guide growth cones. Secreted Slit proteins provide repulsive signals through their cognate Robo receptors and are critical for regulating whether axons cross the midline. Recently, we found that the vascular endothelium exclusively expresses a novel member of the Robo receptor family, Robo4. Slit-Robo4 signaling blocks the migration of cells to fibroblast growth factors and vascular endothelial growth factor. Here, we propose to understand the role of Robo signaling in vascular guidance.
In Specific Aim 1, we will investigate the role of Robo4 signaling in endothelial sprouting. Using cell biology assays, we will determine whether the function of Slit-Robo4 signaling in endothelial cell biology is analogous to the role of Slit-Robo signaling in axonal guidance. We predict that Slit-Robo4 signaling will disrupt endothelial migration, sprouting, adhesion and cytoskeletal architecture but have no effect on proliferation or tube formation.
Specific Aim 2 will examine the molecular mechanism of Robo4 signaling. Using yeast-two hybrid analyses and immunoprecipitations, we will identify intracellular proteins that bind to Robo4 and mediate its downstream signaling cascade. Our studies have revealed a potential link between Robo4 receptors and the paxillin family of proteins. We will define the biochemical interactions between Robo4 and downstream proteins, and the functional roles of these interactions.
In Specific Aim 3, we will examine the role of Robo4 in vascular development using knockout mice. Preliminary data suggest that ablating Robo4 results in increased vascular sprouting around and within the neural tube. Together, the studies outlined in this grant application seek to demonstrate that nerves and vessels exploit a common signaling mechanism, the Slit-Robo pathway, for guiding the formation of their respective networks along specific tracts. ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-CDD (01))
Program Officer
Srinivas, Pothur R
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Utah
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
Salt Lake City
United States
Zip Code
Yoo, Jae Hyuk; Shi, Dallas S; Grossmann, Allie H et al. (2016) ARF6 Is an Actionable Node that Orchestrates Oncogenic GNAQ Signaling in Uveal Melanoma. Cancer Cell 29:889-904
Gibson, Christopher C; Zhu, Weiquan; Davis, Chadwick T et al. (2015) Strategy for identifying repurposed drugs for the treatment of cerebral cavernous malformation. Circulation 131:289-99
Gibson, Christopher C; Davis, Chadwick T; Zhu, Weiquan et al. (2015) Dietary Vitamin D and Its Metabolites Non-Genomically Stabilize the Endothelium. PLoS One 10:e0140370
Yu, Jinlong; Zhang, Xuefeng; Kuzontkoski, Paula M et al. (2014) Slit2N and Robo4 regulate lymphangiogenesis through the VEGF-C/VEGFR-3 pathway. Cell Commun Signal 12:25
Davis, Chadwick T; Zhu, Weiquan; Gibson, Christopher C et al. (2014) ARF6 inhibition stabilizes the vasculature and enhances survival during endotoxic shock. J Immunol 192:6045-52
Grossmann, Allie H; Yoo, Jae Hyuk; Clancy, James et al. (2013) The small GTPase ARF6 stimulates β-catenin transcriptional activity during WNT5A-mediated melanoma invasion and metastasis. Sci Signal 6:ra14
Larrieu-Lahargue, Frederic; Thomas, Kirk R; Li, Dean Y (2012) Netrin ligands and receptors: lessons from neurons to the endothelium. Trends Cardiovasc Med 22:44-7
Frech, Tracy M; Revelo, Monica P; Drakos, Stavros G et al. (2012) Vascular leak is a central feature in the pathogenesis of systemic sclerosis. J Rheumatol 39:1385-91
Zhang, Xuefeng; Yu, Jinlong; Kuzontkoski, Paula M et al. (2012) Slit2/Robo4 signaling modulates HIV-1 gp120-induced lymphatic hyperpermeability. PLoS Pathog 8:e1002461
London, Nyall R; Li, Dean Y (2011) Robo4-dependent Slit signaling stabilizes the vasculature during pathologic angiogenesis and cytokine storm. Curr Opin Hematol 18:186-90

Showing the most recent 10 out of 34 publications