Le Guen, L., Karpanen, T., Schulte, D., Harris, N.C., Koltowska, K., Roukens, G., Bower, N.I., van Impel, A., Stacker, S.A., Achen, M.G., Schulte-Merker, S., and Hogan, B.M. (2014) Ccbe1 regulates Vegfc-mediated induction of Vegfr3 signaling during embryonic lymphangiogenesis. Development (Cambridge, England). 141(6):1239-1249.
The VEGFC/VEGFR3 signaling pathway is essential for lymphangiogenesis (the formation of lymphatic vessels from pre-existing
vasculature) during embryonic development, tissue regeneration and tumor progression. The recently identified secreted protein
CCBE1 is indispensible for lymphangiogenesis during development. The role of CCBE1 orthologs is highly conserved in zebrafish,
mice and humans with mutations in CCBE1 causing generalized lymphatic dysplasia and lymphedema (Hennekam syndrome). To date, the mechanism by which CCBE1 acts remains
unknown. Here, we find that ccbe1 genetically interacts with both vegfc and vegfr3 in zebrafish. In the embryo, phenotypes driven by increased Vegfc are suppressed in the absence of Ccbe1, and Vegfc-driven
sprouting is enhanced by local Ccbe1 overexpression. Moreover, Vegfc- and Vegfr3-dependent Erk signaling is impaired in the
absence of Ccbe1. Finally, CCBE1 is capable of upregulating the levels of fully processed, mature VEGFC in vitro and the overexpression of mature VEGFC rescues ccbe1 loss-of-function phenotypes in zebrafish. Taken together, these data identify Ccbe1 as a crucial component of the Vegfc/Vegfr3
pathway in the embryo.