Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
Animals; Animals, Genetically Modified; Biological Markers; Blood Vessels; Edema; Embryo, Nonmammalian; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; Muscular Dystrophy, Facioscapulohumeral; *Neovascularization, Physiologic; Transgenes; Vascular Diseases; Xenopus; Xenopus Proteins
Cell Biology | Developmental Biology | Molecular Biology | Molecular Genetics | Musculoskeletal Diseases | Nervous System Diseases
The genetic lesion that is diagnostic for facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) results in an epigenetic misregulation of gene expression, which ultimately leads to the disease pathology. FRG1 (FSHD region gene 1) is a leading candidate for a gene whose misexpression might lead to FSHD. Because FSHD pathology is most prominent in the musculature, most research and therapy efforts focus on muscle cells. Previously, using Xenopus development as a model, we showed that altering frg1 expression levels systemically leads to aberrant muscle development, illustrating the potential for aberrant FRG1 levels to disrupt the musculature. However, 50-75% of FSHD patients also exhibit retinal vasculopathy and FSHD muscles have increased levels of vascular- and endothelial-related FRG1 transcripts, illustrating an underlying vascular component to the disease. To date, no FSHD candidate gene has been proposed to affect the vasculature. Here, we focus on a role for FRG1 expression in the vasculature. We found that endogenous frg1 is expressed in both the developing and adult vasculature in Xenopus. Furthermore, expression of FRG1 was found to be essential for the development of the vasculature, as a knockdown of FRG1 resulted in decreased angiogenesis and reduced expression of the angiogenic regulator DAB2. Conversely, tadpoles subjected to frg1 overexpression displayed the pro-angiogenic phenotypes of increased blood vessel branching and dilation of blood vessels, and developed edemas, suggesting that their circulation was disrupted. Thus, the systemic upregulation of the FRG1 protein shows the potential for acquiring a disrupted vascular phenotype, providing the first link between a FSHD candidate gene and the vascular component of FSHD pathology. Overall, in conjunction with our previous analysis, we show that FRG1 overexpression is capable of disrupting both the musculature and vasculature, recapitulating the two most prominent features of FSHD.
DOI of Published Version
Dis Model Mech. 2009 May-Jun;2(5-6):267-74. doi: 10.1242/dmm.002261. Link to article on publisher's site
Disease models and mechanisms
Wuebbles R, Hanel ML, Jones PL. (2009). FSHD region gene 1 (FRG1) is crucial for angiogenesis linking FRG1 to facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy-associated vasculopathy. Peter Jones Lab Publications. https://doi.org/10.1242/dmm.002261. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/peterjones/11
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