Sox7, Sox17 and Sox18 constitute group F of the Sox family of HMG box transcription factor genes. Dominant-negative mutations in Sox18 underlie the cardiovascular defects observed in ragged mutant mice. By contrast, Sox18-/- mice are viable and fertile, and display no appreciable anomaly in their vasculature, suggesting functional compensation by the two other SoxF genes. Here, we provide direct evidence for redundant function of Sox17 and -Sox18 in postnatal neovascularization by generating Sox17+/--Sox18-/- double mutant mice. Whereas -Sox18-/- and Sox17+/--Sox18+/- mice showed no vascular defects, approximately half of the Sox17+/--Sox18-/- pups died before postnatal day 21 (P21). They showed reduced neovascularization in the liver sinusoids and kidney outer medulla vasa recta at P7, which most likely caused the ischemic necrosis observed by P14 in hepatocytes and renal tubular epithelia. Those that survived to adulthood showed similar, but milder, vascular anomalies in both liver and kidney, and females were infertile with varying degrees of vascular abnormalities in the reproductive organs. These anomalies corresponded with sites of expression of Sox7 and Sox17 in the developing postnatal vasculature. In vitro angiogenesis assays, using primary endothelial cells isolated from the P7 livers, showed that the Sox17+/--Sox18-/ - endothelial cells were defective in endothelial sprouting and remodeling of the vasculature in a phenotype-dependent manner. Therefore, our findings indicate that Sox17 and Sox18, and possibly all three SoxF genes, are cooperatively involved in mammalian vascular development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology