Evolutionary Protection of Krüppel-Like Factors 2 and 4 in the Development of the Mature Hemovascular System.

Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine
David R SweetMukesh K Jain


A properly functioning hemovascular system, consisting of circulating innate immune cells and endothelial cells (ECs), is essential in the distribution of nutrients to distant tissues while ensuring protection from invading pathogens. Professional phagocytes (e.g., macrophages) and ECs have co-evolved in vertebrates to adapt to increased physiological demands. Intercellular interactions between components of the hemovascular system facilitate numerous functions in physiology and disease in part through the utilization of shared signaling pathways and factors. Krüppel-like factors (KLFs) 2 and 4 are two such transcription factors with critical roles in both cellular compartments. Decreased expression of either factor in myeloid or endothelial cells increases susceptibility to a multitude of inflammatory diseases, underscoring the essential role for their expression in maintaining cellular quiescence. Given the close evolutionary relationship between macrophages and ECs, along with their shared utilization of KLF2 and 4, we hypothesize that KLF genes evolved in such a way that protected their expression in myeloid and endothelial cells. Within this Perspective, we review the roles of KLF2 and 4 in the hemovascular system and expl...Continue Reading


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