Identification of Novel Vascular Genes Downstream of Islet2 and Nr2f1b Transcription Factors

Ru Fang Li, Yi Shan Wang, Fu I. Lu, Yi Shan Huang, Chien Chih Chiu, Ming Hong Tai, Chang Yi Wu

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The genetic regulation of vascular development is not elucidated completely. We previously characterized the transcription factors Islet2 (Isl2) and Nr2f1b as being critical for vascular growth. In this study, we further performed combinatorial microarrays to identify genes that are potentially regulated by these factors. We verified the changed expression of several targets in isl2/nr2f1b morphants. Those genes expressed in vessels during embryogenesis suggested their functions in vascular development. We selectively assayed a potential target follistatin a (fsta). Follistatin is known to inhibit BMP, and BMP signaling has been shown to be important for angiogenesis. However, the fsta’s role in vascular development has not been well studied. Here, we showed the vascular defects in ISV growth and CVP patterning while overexpressing fsta in the embryo, which mimics the phenotype of isl2/nr2f1b morphants. The vascular abnormalities are likely caused by defects in migration and proliferation. We further observed the altered expression of vessel markers consistent with the vascular defects in (fli:fsta) embryos. We showed that the knockdown of fsta can rescue the vascular defects in (fli:fsta) fish, suggesting the functional specificity of fsta. Moreover, the decreased expression of fsta rescues abnormal vessel growth in isl2 and nr2f1b morphants, indicating that fsta functions downstream of isl2/nr2f1b. Lastly, we showed that Isl2/Nr2f1b control vascular development, via Fsta–BMP signaling in part. Collectively, our microarray data identify many interesting genes regulated by isl2/nr2f1b, which likely function in the vasculature. Our research provides useful information on the genetic control of vascular development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1261
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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