KLF4 is a key determinant in the development and progression of cerebral cavernous malformations
Morini, Marco Francesco
Adams, Ralf H.
Jain, Mukesh K.
Owens, Gary K.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs) are vascular malformations located within the central nervous system often resulting in cerebral hemorrhage. Pharmacological treatment is needed, since current therapy is limited to neurosurgery. Familial CCM is caused by loss‐of‐function mutations in any of Ccm1, Ccm2, and Ccm3 genes. CCM cavernomas are lined by endothelial cells (ECs) undergoing endothelial‐to‐mesenchymal transition (EndMT). This switch in phenotype is due to the activation of the transforming growth factor beta/bone morphogenetic protein (TGFβ/BMP) signaling. However, the mechanism linking Ccm gene inactivation and TGFβ/BMP‐dependent EndMT remains undefined. Here, we report that Ccm1 ablation leads to the activation of a MEKK3‐MEK5‐ERK5‐MEF2 signaling axis that induces a strong increase in Kruppel‐like factor 4 (KLF4) in ECs in vivo. KLF4 transcriptional activity is responsible for the EndMT occurring in CCM1‐null ECs. KLF4 promotes TGFβ/BMP signaling through the production of BMP6. Importantly, in endothelial‐specific Ccm1 and Klf4 double knockout mice, we observe a strong reduction in the development of CCM and mouse mortality. Our data unveil KLF4 as a therapeutic target for CCM. Show more
Journal / seriesEMBO Molecular Medicine
Pages / Article No.
SubjectCCM; EndMT; Endothelial cells; KLF4; TGFβ-BMP
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