ENOX1 is a highly conserved NADH oxidase that helps to regulate intracellular nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide levels in
many cell types, including endothelial cells. Pharmacologic and RNA interference (RNAi)–mediated suppression of ENOX1 impairs
surrogate markers of tumor angiogenesis/vasculogenesis, providing support for the concept that ENOX1 represents an antiangiogenic
druggable target. However, direct genetic evidence that demonstrates a role for ENOX1 in vascular development is lacking.
In this study, we exploited a zebrafish embryonic model of development to address this question. Whole-mount in situ hybridization coupled with immunofluorescence performed on zebrafish embryos demonstrate that enox1 message and translated protein are expressed in most tissues, and its expression is enriched in blood vessels and heart.
Morpholino-mediated suppression of Enox1 in Tg(fli1-eGFP) and Tg(flk1-eGFP) zebrafish embryos significantly impairs the development of vasculature and blood circulation. Using in vivo multiphoton microscopy, we show that morpholino-mediated knockdown of enox1 increases NADH levels, consistent with loss of enzyme. VJ115 is a small-molecule inhibitor of Enox1's oxidase activity shown
to increase intracellular NADH in endothelial cells; we used VJ115 to determine if the oxidase activity was crucial for vascular
development. We found that VJ115 suppressed vasculogenesis in Tg(fli1-eGFP) embryos and impaired circulation. Previously, it was shown that suppression of ENOX1 radiosensitizes proliferating tumor
vasculature, a consequence of enhanced endothelial cell apoptosis. Thus, our current findings, coupled with previous research,
support the hypothesis that ENOX1 represents a potential cancer therapy target, one that combines molecular targeting with