Sarah De Val has published a major new paper in Nature Communications on 28th January 2019.
Sarah's lab aims to understand how blood and lymphatic vessels are formed, with the aspiration to use this knowledge to modulate vessel growth in pathologies. In particular, the mechanisms by which vein identity is established and maintained are currently very poorly understood, but it is crucial to understand these in order to improve our strategies of controlling vessel growth in order to successfully treat certain diseases.
This paper identifies a major and previously unsuspected role for Bone Morphogenetic Proteins in the acquisition and maintenance of vein identity, through a detailed analysis of early vascular patterning in mice and zebrafish. BMPs are a group of growth factors originally discovered by their ability to induce the formation of bone and cartilage.
"This work places BMP signalling at the top of a regulatory cascade that activates venous identity. It represents a fundamental advance in both our knowledge of vascular development and our understanding of the role of the BMP pathway. It also provides a wealth of novel targets for therapeutic manipulations of vascular growth, for example in heart disease and cancer." - A/Prof De Val.
The full paper can be viewed here.