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Publication Detail
KIT is dispensable for physiological organ vascularisation in the embryo
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Tacconi C, Plein A, Colletto C, Villa E, Denti L, Barone C, Javanmardi Y, Moeendarbary E, Azzoni E, Fantin A, Ruhrberg C
  • Publisher:
    Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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  • Keywords:
    Angiogenesis, Development, KIT
  • Notes:
    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Blood vessels form vast networks in all vertebrate organs to sustain tissue growth, repair and homeostatic metabolism, but they also contribute to a range of diseases with neovascularisation. It is, therefore, important to define the molecular mechanisms that underpin blood vessel growth. The receptor tyrosine kinase KIT is required for the normal expansion of hematopoietic progenitors that arise during embryogenesis from hemogenic endothelium in the yolk sac and dorsal aorta. Additionally, KIT has been reported to be expressed in endothelial cells during embryonic brain vascularisation and has been implicated in pathological angiogenesis. However, it is neither known whether KIT expression is widespread in normal organ endothelium nor whether it promotes blood vessel growth in developing organs. Here, we have used single-cell analyses to show that KIT is expressed in endothelial cell subsets of several organs, both in the adult and in the developing embryo. Knockout mouse analyses revealed that KIT is dispensable for vascularisation of growing organs in the midgestation embryo, including the lung, liver and brain. By contrast, vascular changes emerged during late-stage embryogenesis in these organs from KIT-deficient embryos, concurrent with severe erythrocyte deficiency and growth retardation. These findings suggest that KIT is not required for developmental tissue vascularisation in physiological conditions, but that KIT deficiency causes foetal anaemia at late gestation and thereby pathological vascular remodelling.
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