Gerri, C., Marín-Juez, R., Marass, M., Marks, A., Maischein, H.M., Stainier, D.Y.R. (2017) Hif-1α regulates macrophage-endothelial interactions during blood vessel development in zebrafish. Nature communications. 8:15492.
Macrophages are known to interact with endothelial cells during developmental and pathological angiogenesis but the molecular mechanisms modulating these interactions remain unclear. Here, we show a role for the Hif-1α transcription factor in this cellular communication. We generated hif-1aa;hif-1ab double mutants in zebrafish, hereafter referred to as hif-1α mutants, and find that they exhibit impaired macrophage mobilization from the aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region as well as angiogenic defects and defective vascular repair. Importantly, macrophage ablation is sufficient to recapitulate the vascular phenotypes observed in hif-1α mutants, revealing for the first time a macrophage-dependent angiogenic process during development. Further substantiating our observations of vascular repair, we find that most macrophages closely associated with ruptured blood vessels are Tnfα-positive, a key feature of classically activated macrophages. Altogether, our data provide genetic evidence that Hif-1α regulates interactions between macrophages and endothelial cells starting with the mobilization of macrophages from the AGM.