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Nat Med. 2003 Aug;9(8):1026-32. Epub 2003 Jul 20.

Transcription factor Egr-1 supports FGF-dependent angiogenesis during neovascularization and tumor growth.

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Centre for Vascular Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia.


Current understanding of key transcription factors regulating angiogenesis is limited. Here we show that RNA-cleaving phosphodiester-linked DNA-based enzymes (DNAzymes), targeting a specific motif in the 5' untranslated region of early growth response (Egr-1) mRNA, inhibit Egr-1 protein expression, microvascular endothelial cell replication and migration, and microtubule network formation on basement membrane matrices. Egr-1 DNAzymes blocked angiogenesis in subcutaneous Matrigel plugs in mice, an observation that was independently confirmed by plug analysis in Egr-1-deficient animals, and inhibited MCF-7 human breast carcinoma growth in nude mice. Egr-1 DNAzymes suppressed tumor growth without influencing body weight, wound healing, blood coagulation or other hematological parameters. These agents inhibited endothelial expression of fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2, a proangiogenic factor downstream of Egr-1, but not that of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Egr-1 DNAzymes also repressed neovascularization of rat cornea. Thus, microvascular endothelial cell growth, neovascularization, tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth are processes that are critically dependent on Egr-1.

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