Navigation Links
UMMS researchers uncover novel genetic pathway responsible for triggering vascular growth

WORCESTER, Mass. Most solid cancers can't grow beyond a limited size without an adequate blood supply and supporting vascular network. Because of this, cancer researchers have sought to understand how a tumor's vascular network developsand, more importantly, how to prevent it from developing: If the vascular network never develops, the theory goes, the tumor cannot grow.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have discovered a critical step for blood vessel growth in zebrafish embryos, providing new insight into how vascular systems develop and offering a potential therapeutic target for preventing tumor growth. UMMS Associate Professor of Molecular Medicine and the Program in Gene Function and Expression Nathan Lawson, PhD, and colleagues have identified a novel microRNA-mediated genetic pathway responsible for new blood vessel growth, or angiogenesis, in zebrafish embryos. Published online by Nature, Dr. Lawson's work provides new insights into how vascular systems use the forces of existing blood flow to initiate the growth of new vessels.

Focusing on the development of the fifth and sixth aortic arches in the zebrafish, Dr. Lawson describes how the forces exerted by blood flow on endothelial cells are a critical component for expressing a microRNA that triggers new vessel development. In the early stages of development, when blood flow is present in the aortic vessels, but the vascular linkages between the two arches have yet to be established, the stimulus provided by active blood flow leads to expression of an endothelial-cell specific microRNA (mir-126). In turn, this microRNA turns on vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a chemical signal produced by surrounding cells that normally stimulates angiogenesis. Thus, blood flow allows the endothelial cells to respond to VEGF by growing into new blood vessels. However, when blood flow in the aortic arches was restricted, mir-126 failed to be expressed. In the absence of this microRNA, new blood vessels were unable to develop due to a block in VEGF signaling.

"We have known for over a hundred years that blood flow makes new vessels grow," said Dr. Lawson. "But we never really knew how cells in a growing vessel interpreted this signal. Our results show that miR-126 is the crucial switch that allows flow to turn on VEGF signaling and drive blood vessel growth. Since VEGF is crucial for tumor progression, not to mention a number of other vascular diseases, our findings may provide new ways to modify this pathway in these settings."

In his research, Dr. Lawson identifies the microRNA as a key facilitator in the integration of the physiological stimulus of blood flow with the activation of VEGF signaling, which guides angiogenesis, in endothelial cells. As a result, regulation of the microRNA, mir-126, could be a potential therapeutic target in limiting blood vessel development in solid cancers.


Contact: Jim Fessenden
University of Massachusetts Medical School

Related biology news :

1. Longer-lasting flowers: Fresh ideas from ARS researchers
2. Researchers discover weak link in Alzheimers drug candidates
3. Researchers sequence DNA of peach tree at Clemson University
4. Researchers develop new method to detect melamine in milk
5. Researchers sequence DNA if peach tree at Clemson University
6. New brain nerve cells key to stress resilience, UT Southwestern researchers find
7. Researchers harness the power of plants to fight hemophilia
8. U of I researchers say foliar fungicides may not be the answer for hail-damaged corn
9. Researchers look at reducing yield loss for crops under stress
10. UT Southwestern researchers find clues to TB drug resistance
11. U of I researchers identify new soybean aphid biotype
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/16/2017)... N.J. , May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, ... provider of online age and identity verification solutions, announced ... K(NO)W Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May 17, ... Regan Building and International Trade Center. ... the globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital world, ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... 2017 Janice Kephart , former ... Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the ... Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting ... can be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the ... refugee applications are suspended by until at least ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), ... Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April 13, 2017 with the ... The ... section of the Company,s website at  under "SEC Filings," ... 2016 Year Highlights: Acquisition of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... President Andi Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief ... ), Inc. has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia Inc ., a ... Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” with Dr. Nicolas ... practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an increase in diagnostic ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... A new study published in Fertility and ... in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer cycles. The multi-center matched cohort study ... comparing the results from the fresh and frozen transfer cohorts, the authors of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... program has won a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program ... in Volunteer Experience from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory ...
Breaking Biology Technology: