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Mech Dev. 2002 Dec;119(2):165-75.

CRIM1 is involved in endothelial cell capillary formation in vitro and is expressed in blood vessels in vivo.

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Experimental Oncology, Research Laboratories of Schering AG, M├╝llerstrasse 178, D-13342 Berlin, Germany.


In endothelial cells that form capillary-like structures in vitro a variety of genes is upregulated as we have demonstrated previously. In addition to well known genes, we also identified genes never described in endothelial cells before. Here, we report the further characterization of one selected gene called cysteine-rich motor neuron 1 (CRIM1). CRIM1 is strongly upregulated in endothelial cells during tube formation and is expressed by a variety of adherent growing cell lines whereas cell lines grown in suspension do not express CRIM1. By using antisense technology we were able to inhibit CRIM1 expression and demonstrate impaired formation of capillary-like structures in vitro in transfected endothelial cells. Furthermore, we show that CRIM1 is a glycosylated type I transmembrane protein, that accumulates at sites of close cell-to-cell contact upon stimulation. Finally, we found CRIM1 protein to be expressed by endothelial cells of the inner lining of blood vessels in vivo. Taken together our results imply a possible role of CRIM1 in capillary formation and maintainance during angiogenesis.

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