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Vascular Abnormalities and Deregulation of VEGF in Lkb1-Deficient Mice

Science  17 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5533, pp. 1323-1326
DOI: 10.1126/science.1062074

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Abstract

The LKB1 tumor suppressor gene, mutated in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, encodes a serine/threonine kinase of unknown function. Here we show that mice with a targeted disruption ofLkb1 die at midgestation, with the embryos showing neural tube defects, mesenchymal cell death, and vascular abnormalities. Extraembryonic development was also severely affected; the mutant placentas exhibited defective labyrinth layer development and the fetal vessels failed to invade the placenta. These phenotypes were associated with tissue-specific deregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression, including a marked increase in the amount of VEGF messenger RNA. Moreover, VEGF production in culturedLkb1−/− fibroblasts was elevated in both normoxic and hypoxic conditions. These findings place Lkb1in the VEGF signaling pathway and suggest that the vascular defects accompanying Lkb1 loss are mediated at least in part by VEGF.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: tomi.makela{at}helsinki.fi

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