The goal of this project is to elucidate the role of vascular endothelium in embryonic development and organogenesis. Microvascular endothelial cells (mEC), which line capillaries, have a well-known function in regulation of angiogenesis, but less is known about their role in organogenesis. Our preliminary data suggests that the evolutionarily conserved, secreted metalloprotease ADAMTS9, a product of microvascular endothelium, has an important role in normal organogenesis. Adamts9-/- mice die by 7.5 days of gestation (E7.5), prior to the onset of angiogenesis and organogenesis. Nevertheless, using mice lacking one allele of Adamts9, we have shown that ADAMTS9 influences both vascular and non-vascular developmental processes. Specifically, Adamts9 expressed by mEC worked cooperatively with Adamts20 expressed by craniofacial mesenchyme in closure of the mouse secondary palate, and also influenced development of the myocardium and angiogenesis. Moreover, ADAMTS9 proteolysis of versican, a large, developmentally critical proteoglycan, was crucial in both the palate and the heart. Since ADAMTS9 is expressed globally by mEC during organogenesis and because versican is widely expressed during embryogenesis, our intriguing observations suggest a broader impact of mEC-produced ADAMTS9 during development. Based on these findings, we hypothesize that through the proteolytic modification of secreted proteins, ADAMTS9 produced by mEC influences surrounding cells during organogenesis. To gain a complete understanding of the developmental impact of mEC-derived ADAMTS9, and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms, a conditional targeting approach is required.
The specific aim of this RO3 proposal is to achieve conditional deletion of ADAMTS9 in mEC, and perform morphologic analysis of the resulting mouse phenotype, thereby resolving the overall impact on angiogenesis and organogenesis. This will lay the groundwork for continued work on the identified developmental defects, including their underlying mechanisms. Approach: We will delete Adamts9 specifically in mEC at the earliest developmental stages (E8.5) using a Tie2-Cre strain. In addition, we will undertake regulated conditional deletion in mEC at later developmental stages (E10.5 and later) using tamoxifen-induced Cre expression (via a VE-cadherin-Cre ERT2 mouse). Morphologic analysis of the resulting mouse phenotypes will identify effects on angiogenesis and organogenesis. Significance: In addition to the expected impact on angiogenesis, palatogenesis and myocardial development, it is foreseen that the proposed study will elucidate a widespread role for mEC-expressed ADAMTS9 in organogenesis. The proposed work has immediate significance for common human birth defects, such as cleft palate and cardiac anomalies, and may provide new mouse models for other developmental defects.

Public Health Relevance

ADAMTS9 expressed in endothelial cells influences angiogenesis, palate closure and myocardial maturation during mouse development, and is implicated in cleft palate and heart defects, which are both common, medically significant birth defects. The proposed research is expected to provide fundamental new insights relevant to the role of ADAMTS9 in defective angiogenesis, cleft palate and myocardial non-compaction. The new information obtained will provide new knowledge regarding the functional relationship between vascular endothelium and embryonic development, and could potentially define new directions for treatment of specific birth defects. !

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Pediatrics Subcommittee (CHHD)
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Javois, Lorette Claire
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Cleveland Clinic Lerner
Other Basic Sciences
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Dubail, Johanne; Aramaki-Hattori, Noriko; Bader, Hannah L et al. (2014) A new Adamts9 conditional mouse allele identifies its non-redundant role in interdigital web regression. Genesis 52:702-12