Identification of Basp1 as a novel angiogenesis-regulating gene by multi-model system studies. FASEB J 2021;35(5):e21404.Abstract.
We have previously used the genetic diversity available in common inbred mouse strains to identify quantitative trait loci (QTLs) responsible for the differences in angiogenic response using the corneal micropocket neovascularization (CoNV) assay. Employing a mouse genome-wide association study (GWAS) approach, the region on chromosome 15 containing Basp1 was identified as being significantly associated with angiogenesis in inbred strains. Here, we developed a unique strategy to determine and verify the role of BASP1 in angiogenic pathways. Basp1 expression in cornea had a strong correlation with a haplotype shared by mouse strains with varied angiogenic phenotypes. In addition, inhibition of BASP1 demonstrated a dosage-dependent effect in both primary mouse brain endothelial and human microvascular endothelial cell (HMVEC) migration. To investigate its role in vivo, we knocked out basp1 in transgenic kdrl:zsGreen zebrafish embryos using a widely adopted CRISPR-Cas9 system. These embryos had severely disrupted vessel formation compared to control siblings. We further show that basp1 promotes angiogenesis by upregulating β-catenin gene and the Dll4/Notch1 signaling pathway. These results, to the best of our knowledge, provide the first in vivo evidence to indicate the role of Basp1 as an angiogenesis-regulating gene and opens the potential therapeutic avenues for a wide variety of systemic angiogenesis-dependent diseases.