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J Cell Biol. 2007 Nov 19;179(4):761-75. Epub 2007 Nov 12.

Ena/VASP is required for endothelial barrier function in vivo.

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Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Enabled/vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (Ena/VASP) proteins are key actin regulators that localize at regions of dynamic actin remodeling, including cellular protrusions and cell-cell and cell-matrix junctions. Several studies have suggested that Ena/VASP proteins are involved in the formation and function of cellular junctions. Here, we establish the importance of Ena/VASP in endothelial junctions in vivo by analysis of Ena/VASP-deficient animals. In the absence of Ena/VASP, the vasculature exhibits patterning defects and lacks structural integrity, leading to edema, hemorrhaging, and late stage embryonic lethality. In endothelial cells, we find that Ena/VASP activity is required for normal F-actin content, actomyosin contractility, and proper response to shear stress. These findings demonstrate that Ena/VASP is critical for actin cytoskeleton remodeling events involved in the maintenance of functional endothelia.

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