Matrix-binding vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoforms guide granule cell migration in the cerebellum via VEGF receptor Flk1

Carmen Ruiz De Almodovar, Cathy Coulon, Paul Antoine Salin, Ellen Knevels, Naura Chounlamountri, Koen Poesen, Karlien Hermans, Diether Lambrechts, Katie Van Geyte, Joke Dhondt, Tom Dresselaers, Julie Renaud, Julian Aragones, Serena Zacchigna, Ilse Geudens, David Gall, Stijn Stroobants, Mireille Mutin, Karel Dassonville, Erik StorkebaumBénédicte F. Jordan, Ulf Eriksson, Lieve Moons, Rudi D'Hooge, Jody J. Haigh, Marie Françoise Belin, Serge Schiffmann, Paul Van Hecke, Bernard Gallez, Stefan Vinckier, Alain Chédotal, Jérôme Honnorat, Nicole Thomasset, Peter Carmeliet, Claire Meissirel

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66 Citations (Scopus)


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) regulates angiogenesis, but also has important, yet poorly characterized roles in neuronal wiring. Using several genetic and in vitro approaches, we discovered a novel role for VEGF in the control of cerebellar granule cell (GC) migration from the external granule cell layer (EGL) toward the Purkinje cell layer (PCL). GCs express the VEGF receptor Flk1, and are chemoattracted by VEGF, whose levels are higher in the PCL than EGL. Lowering VEGF levels in mice in vivo or ectopic VEGF expression in the EGL ex vivo perturbs GC migration. Using GC-specific Flk1 knock-out mice, we provide for the first time in vivo evidence for a direct chemoattractive effect of VEGF on neurons via Flk1 signaling. Finally, using knock-in mice expressing single VEGF isoforms, we show that pericellular deposition of matrix-bound VEGF isoforms around PC dendrites is necessary for proper GC migration in vivo. These findings identify a previously unknown role for VEGF in neuronal migration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15052-15066
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes

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