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Accession IconGSE92354

GATA4-dependent organ-specific endothelial differentiation controls liver development and embryonic hematopoiesis (2 of 3)

Organism Icon Homo sapiens
Sample Icon 10 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge Icon Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array (hgu133plus2)

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Microvascular endothelial cells (EC) are increasingly recognized as organ-specific gatekeepers of their microenvironment. Microvascular EC instruct neighboring cells in their organ-specific vascular niches by angiocrine factors that comprise secreted growth factors/angiokines, but also extracellular matrix molecules and transmembrane proteins. The molecular regulators, however, that drive organ-specific microvascular transcriptional programs and thereby regulate angiodiversity, are largely elusive. Opposite to continuous barrier-forming EC, liver sinusoids are a prime model of discontinuous, permeable micro-vessels. Here, we show that transcription factor GATA4 controls liver sinusoidal endothelial (LSEC) specification and function. LSEC-restricted deletion of GATA4 caused transformation of discontinuous liver sinusoids into continuous capillaries. Capillarization was characterized by ectopic basement membrane deposition and formation of an abundantly VE-Cadherin expressing continuous endothelium. Correspondingly, ectopic expression of GATA4 in cultured continuous EC mediated downregulation of continuous EC transcripts and upregulation of LSEC genes. Regarding angiocrine functions, the switch from discontinuous LSEC to continuous EC during embryogenesis caused liver hypoplasia, fibrosis, and impaired colonization by hematopoietic progenitor cells resulting in anemia and embryonic lethality. Thus, GATA4 acts as master regulator of hepatic microvascular specification and acquisition of organ-specific vascular competence indispensable for liver development. The data also establish an essential role of the hepatic microvasculature for embryonic hematopoiesis.
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