Endothelial SRF/MRTF ablation causes vascular disease phenotypes in murine retinae

Christine Weinl, Heidemarie Riehle, Dongjeong Park, Christine Stritt, Susanne Beck, Gesine Huber, Hartwig Wolburg, Eric N. Olson, Mathias W. Seeliger, Ralf H. Adams, Alfred Nordheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Retinal vessel homeostasis ensures normal ocular functions. Consequently, retinal hypovascularization and neovascularization, causing a lack and an excess of vessels, respectively, are hallmarks of human retinal pathology. We provide evidence that EC-specific genetic ablation of either the transcription factor SRF or its cofactors MRTF-A and MRTF-B, but not the SRF cofactors ELK1 or ELK4, cause retinal hypovascularization in the postnatal mouse eye. Inducible, EC-specific deficiency of SRF or MRTF-A/MRTF-B during postnatal angiogenesis impaired endothelial tip cell filopodia protrusion, resulting in incomplete formation of the retinal primary vascular plexus, absence of the deep plexi, and persistence of hyaloid vessels. All of these features are typical of human hypovascularization-related vitreoretinopathies, such as familial exudative vitreoretinopathies including Norrie disease. In contrast, conditional EC deletion of Srf in adult murine vessels elicited intraretinal neovascularization that was reminiscent of the age-related human pathologies retinal angiomatous proliferation and macular telangiectasia. These results indicate that angiogenic homeostasis is ensured by differential stage-specific functions of SRF target gene products in the developing versus the mature retinal vasculature and suggest that the actin-directed MRTF-SRF signaling axis could serve as a therapeutic target in the treatment of human vascular retinal diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2193-2206
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Volume123
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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