Lymphatic vasculature constitutes a second vascular system essential for immune surveillance and tissue fluid homeostasis. Maturation of the hierarchical vascular structure, with a highly branched network of capillaries and ducts, is crucial for its function. Environmental cues mediate the remodeling process, but the mechanism that underlies this process is largely unknown.Objective:
Polydom (also called Svep1) is an extracellular matrix protein identified as a high-affinity ligand for integrin α9β1. However, its physiological function is unclear. Here, we investigated the role of Polydom in lymphatic development.Methods and Results:
We generated Polydom-deficient mice. Polydom−/− mice showed severe edema and died immediately after birth because of respiratory failure. We found that although a primitive lymphatic plexus was formed, it failed to undergo remodeling in Polydom−/− embryos, including sprouting of new capillaries and formation of collecting lymphatic vessels. Impaired lymphatic development was also observed after knockdown/knockout of polydom in zebrafish. Polydom was deposited around lymphatic vessels, but secreted from surrounding mesenchymal cells. Expression of Foxc2 (forkhead box protein c2), a transcription factor involved in lymphatic remodeling, was decreased in Polydom−/− mice. Polydom bound to the lymphangiogenic factor Ang-2 (angiopoietin-2), which was found to upregulate Foxc2 expression in cultured lymphatic endothelial cells. Expressions of Tie1/Tie2 receptors for angiopoietins were also decreased in Polydom−/− mice.Conclusions:
Polydom affects remodeling of lymphatic vessels in both mouse and zebrafish. Polydom deposited around lymphatic vessels seems to ensure Foxc2 upregulation in lymphatic endothelial cells, possibly via the Ang-2 and Tie1/Tie2 receptor system.