The role of the ETS factor erg in zebrafish vasculogenesis.

Mechanisms of Development
Felix EllettGraham J Lieschke


Erg, a member of the ETS family of transcription factors, has been implicated by previous studies in endothelial and haematopoietic development. Deregulation of the human ERG locus is associated with acute myeloid leukaemia, prostate cancer and Ewing's sarcoma. To better understand the role of Erg during early development, we utilised the zebrafish as a model amenable to descriptive and functional studies in vivo. Zebrafish have a single erg gene that is expressed in mesoderm and its vascular derivatives during angioblast migration, vasculogenesis and early angiogenesis. Mutant and morphant expression analyses placed erg in a genetic pathway downstream of cloche, tal1/scl and etsrp during early angioblast migration. Furthermore, a combination of gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies suggested a redundant yet specific role for erg in both angioblast specification/proliferation and early angiogenesis, and a synergistic interaction with the critical ETS factor etsrp.


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