FoxO1-Mediated Activation of Akt Plays a Critical Role in Vascular Homeostasis
Rationale: Forkhead box-O transcription factors (FoxOs) transduce a wide range of extracellular signals, resulting in changes in cell survival, cell cycle progression, and a number of cell type-specific responses. FoxO1 is expressed in many cell types, including endothelial cells. Previous studies have shown that FoxO1 knockout in mice results in embryonic lethality at E11 due to impaired vascular development. In contrast, somatic deletion of FoxO1 is associated with hyperproliferation of endothelial cells. Thus, the precise role of FoxO1 in the endothelium remains enigmatic.
Objective: To determine the effect of endothelial-specific knockout and overexpression of FoxO1 on vascular homeostasis.
Methods and Results: We show that endothelial cell (EC)-specific disruption of FoxO1 in mice phenocopies the full knockout. While endothelial expression of FoxO1 rescued otherwise FoxO-null animals, overexpression of constitutively active FoxO1 resulted in increased EC size, occlusion of capillaries, elevated peripheral resistance, heart failure and death. Knockdown of FoxO1 in ECs resulted in marked inhibition of basal and VEGF-induced Akt-mTOR1 signaling.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that in mice endothelial expression of FoxO1 is both necessary and sufficient for embryonic development. Moreover, FoxO1-mediated feedback activation of Akt maintains growth factor-responsive Akt/mTORC1 activity within a homeostatic range.
- Received December 13, 2013.
- Revision received May 27, 2014.
- Accepted May 28, 2014.