Combined germline and somatic second-hit inactivating mutations of the RASA1 gene, which encodes a negative regulator of the Ras signaling pathway, cause blood and lymphatic vascular lesions in the human autosomal-dominant vascular disorder capillary malformation–arteriovenous malformation (CM-AVM). How RASA1 mutations in endothelial cells (ECs) result in vascular lesions in CM-AVM is unknown. Here, using different murine models of RASA1 deficiency, we found that RASA1 was essential for the survival of ECs during developmental angiogenesis, in which primitive vascular plexuses are remodeled into hierarchical vascular networks. RASA1 was required for EC survival during developmental angiogenesis, because it was necessary for export of collagen IV from ECs and deposition in vascular basement membranes. In the absence of RASA1, dysregulated Ras/MAPK signal transduction in ECs resulted in impaired folding of collagen IV and its retention in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), leading to EC death. Remarkably, the chemical chaperone 4-phenylbutyric acid and small-molecule inhibitors of MAPK and 2-oxoglutarate–dependent collagen IV–modifying enzymes rescued ER retention of collagen IV and EC apoptosis and resulted in normal developmental angiogenesis. These findings have important implications for a better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of CM-AVM and possible means of treatment.
Di Chen, Joyce M. Teng, Paula E. North, Philip E. Lapinski, Philip D. King