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Cancer Cell. 2002 Apr;1(3):257-67.

Dissection of angiogenic signaling in zebrafish using a chemical genetic approach.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Striking homology between signaling molecules in zebrafish and humans suggests that compounds known to inhibit human kinases may enable a chemical genetic approach to dissect signaling pathways in the zebrafish embryo. We tested this hypothesis using a vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibitor, PTK787/ZK222584. Zebrafish embryos treated with this compound lacked all major blood vessels. Overexpression of AKT/PKB, a putative effector of vascular endothelial growth factor signaling, allowed blood vessels to form in the presence of drug. Endothelial cell apoptosis induced by the drug is prevented by increasing AKT/PKB activity, thus establishing the physiological relevance of AKT/PKB in the angiogenic process. This approach allowed us to examine the effects of blood flow and the role of endothelial signals in organogenesis.

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