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PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e51245. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051245. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Ve-ptp modulates vascular integrity by promoting adherens junction maturation.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biologia, Universitàdegli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Endothelial cell junctions control blood vessel permeability. Altered permeability can be associated with vascular fragility that leads to vessel weakness and haemorrhage formation. In vivo studies on the function of genes involved in the maintenance of vascular integrity are essential to better understand the molecular basis of diseases linked to permeability defects. Ve-ptp (Vascular Endothelial-Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase) is a transmembrane protein present at endothelial adherens junctions (AJs).

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We investigated the role of Ve-ptp in AJ maturation/stability and in the modulation of endothelial permeability using zebrafish (Danio rerio). Whole-mount in situ hybridizations revealed zve-ptp expression exclusively in the developing vascular system. Generation of altered zve-ptp transcripts, induced separately by two different splicing morpholinos, resulted in permeability defects closely linked to vascular wall fragility. The ultrastructural analysis revealed a statistically significant reduction of junction complexes and the presence of immature AJs in zve-ptp morphants but not in control embryos.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Here we show the first in vivo evidence of a potentially critical role played by Ve-ptp in AJ maturation, an important event for permeability modulation and for the development of a functional vascular system.

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