PTEN is involved in modulation of vasculogenesis in early chick embryos

Yan Li, Xiao Yu Wang, Ting Wu, Manli Chuai, Kenneth Ka Ho Lee, Li Jing Wang, Xuesong Yang

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    11 Citations (Scopus)
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    PTEN is a tumor suppressor gene that is mutated and/or deleted in many types of tumor. This gene also plays a very distinct role in the early stages of embryonic development such as cell migration, proliferation and migration. Nevertheless, little is known of the function of PTEN in vasculogenesis during chick embryonic development. In this study, we used in situ hybridization to first demonstrate the expression pattern of PTEN during gastrulation. PTEN was found mainly expressed in the blood islands of area opaca, the neural tube and mesodermal structures. Overexpression of PTEN obstructed the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) process in the primitive streak. EMT is the first prerequisite required for the emigration of hemangioblasts during vasculogenesis. When PTEN expression was silenced, we observed that it produced an adverse effect on mesodermal cell emigration to the extraembryonic blood islands. In addition, we also demonstrated that even if the perturbed-PTEN cells did not affect the formation of blood islands, migrant mesodermal cells overexpressing wt PTEN-GFP had difficulties integrating into the blood islands. Instead, these cells were either localized on the periphery of the blood islands or induced to differentiate into endothelial cells if they managed to integrate into blood islands. Development of the intra-embryonic primary vascular plexus was also affected by overexpression of PTEN. We proposed that it was elevated PTEN lipid phosphatase activity that was responsible for the morphogenetic defects induced by PTEN overexpression. In this context, we did not find PTEN affecting VEGF signaling. In sum, our study has provided evidence that PTEN is involved in vasculogenesis during the early stages of chick embryo development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)587-595
    Number of pages9
    JournalOpen Biology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2013


    • Blood islands
    • Cell migration
    • Chick embryo
    • PTEN
    • Vasculogenesis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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