Endothelial Cell Differentiation by SOX17
Promoting the Tip Cell or Stalking Its Neighbor Instead?
Vessel sprouting relies on the differentiation of endothelial cells (ECs) into a migratory tip cell leading at the forefront, proliferating stalk cells elongating the vessel stalk, and quiescent phalanx cells lining the perfused vessel.1 The tip versus stalk cell balance is under the control of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and Notch signaling, respectively.1 During recent years, the transcription factor SRY-related HMG box 17 (SOX17) has emerged as a regulator of arterial (at the expense of venous) EC specification, but its role in inducing the tip versus stalk EC behavior remained incompletely defined. In this issue of Circulation Research, Lee et al2 identified SOX17 as an inducer of the tip cell phenotype and showed that Notch signaling suppresses SOX17 levels to promote a stalk cell phenotype (Figure). However, using similar genetic mouse models, another recent study reported noncongruent findings.3 Can we explain these divergent interpretations and what are the possible implications of these results?
Article, see p 215
Except for a brief period of embryonic vasculogenesis during which the primitive vascular plexus is established, tissues are vascularized …