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See detailEvolution of metal hyperaccumulation required cis-regulatory changes and triplication of HMA4
Hanikenne, Marc ULg; Talke, Ina N.; Haydon, Michael J. et al

in Nature (2008), 453

Little is known about the types of mutations underlying the evolution of species-specific traits. The metal hyperaccumulator Arabidopsis halleri has the rare ability to colonize heavy-metal-polluted soils ... [more ▼]

Little is known about the types of mutations underlying the evolution of species-specific traits. The metal hyperaccumulator Arabidopsis halleri has the rare ability to colonize heavy-metal-polluted soils, and, as an extremophile sister species of Arabidopsis thaliana, it is a powerful model for research on adaptation. A. halleri naturally accumulates and tolerates leaf concentrations as high as 2.2% zinc and 0.28% cadmium in dry biomass. On the basis of transcriptomics studies, metal hyperaccumulation in A. halleri has been associated with more than 30 candidate genes that are expressed at higher levels in A. halleri than in A. thaliana. Some of these genes have been genetically mapped to broad chromosomal segments of between 4 and 24 cM co-segregating with Zn and Cd hypertolerance. However, the in planta loss-of-function approaches required to demonstrate the contribution of a given candidate gene to metal hyperaccumulation or hypertolerance have not been pursued to date. Using RNA interference to downregulate HMA4 (HEAVY METAL ATPASE 4) expression, we show here that Zn hyperaccumulation and full hypertolerance to Cd and Zn in A. halleri depend on the metal pump HMA4. Contrary to a postulated global trans regulatory factor governing high expression of numerous metal hyperaccumulation genes, we demonstrate that enhanced expression of HMA4 in A. halleri is attributable to a combination of modified cis-regulatory sequences and copy number expansion, in comparison to A. thaliana. Transfer of an A. halleri HMA4 gene to A. thaliana recapitulates Zn partitioning into xylem vessels and the constitutive transcriptional upregulation of Zn deficiency response genes characteristic of Zn hyperaccumulators. Our results demonstrate the importance of cis-regulatory mutations and gene copy number expansion in the evolution of a complex naturally selected extreme trait. The elucidation of a natural strategy for metal hyperaccumulation enables the rational design of technologies for the clean-up of metal-contaminated soils and for bio-fortification. [less ▲]

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See detailTHE FUNCTION OF HMG-BOX TRANSCRIPTION FACTORS Sox4a AND Sox4b IN ZEBRAFISH BONE DEVELOPMENT AND HOMEOSTASIS.
Aceto, Jessica ULg; Motte, Patrick ULg; Martial, Joseph ULg et al

in Journal of Gravitational Physiology : A Journal of the International Society for Gravitational Physiology (2008), 15

In mammals, the Sox4 gene is involved in development of endocardial crests, the brain, the lung, teeth, gonads and lymphocytes. Recently, Sox4 was shown to control bone mass and mineralization in mice. In ... [more ▼]

In mammals, the Sox4 gene is involved in development of endocardial crests, the brain, the lung, teeth, gonads and lymphocytes. Recently, Sox4 was shown to control bone mass and mineralization in mice. In zebrafish, two homologs for the mammalian Sox4 are present, sox4a and sox4b. Here we investigate the function of the sox4a and sox4b genes in cartilage and bone development in zebrafish. Therefore, we focus our attention on the first bone structures to be formed, the head skeleton and more precisely the pharyngeal cartilage. We show that both genes are expressed in the pharyngeal region, albeit at different time points during development. Double in situ hybridization experiments are used to exactly define the particular tissues where they are expressed. Furthermore, microinjection experiments of antisense oligonucleotides are used to block translation of these specific genes and to define their precise function during cartilage and bone development. [less ▲]

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See detailExpression of zebrafish pax6b in pancreas is regulated by two enhancers containing highly conserved cis-elements bound by PDX1, PBX and PREP factors
Delporte, F. M.; Pasque, Vincent; Devos, Nathalie et al

in BMC Developmental Biology (2008), 8

BACKGROUND: PAX6 is a transcription factor playing a crucial role in the development of the eye and in the differentiation of the pancreatic endocrine cells as well as of enteroendocrine cells. Studies on ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: PAX6 is a transcription factor playing a crucial role in the development of the eye and in the differentiation of the pancreatic endocrine cells as well as of enteroendocrine cells. Studies on the mouse Pax6 gene have shown that sequences upstream from the P0 promoter are required for expression in the lens and the pancreas; but there remain discrepancies regarding the precise location of the pancreatic regulatory elements. RESULTS: Due to genome duplication in the evolution of ray-finned fishes, zebrafish has two pax6 genes, pax6a and pax6b. While both zebrafish pax6 genes are expressed in the developing eye and nervous system, only pax6b is expressed in the endocrine cells of the pancreas. To investigate the cause of this differential expression, we used a combination of in silico, in vivo and in vitro approaches. We show that the pax6b P0 promoter targets expression to endocrine pancreatic cells and also to enteroendocrine cells, retinal neurons and the telencephalon of transgenic zebrafish. Deletion analyses indicate that strong pancreatic expression of the pax6b gene relies on the combined action of two conserved regulatory enhancers, called regions A and C. By means of gel shift assays, we detected binding of the homeoproteins PDX1, PBX and PREP to several cis-elements of these regions. In constrast, regions A and C of the zebrafish pax6a gene are not active in the pancreas, this difference being attributable to sequence divergences within two cis-elements binding the pancreatic homeoprotein PDX1. CONCLUSION: Our data indicate a conserved role of enhancers A and C in the pancreatic expression of pax6b and emphasize the importance of the homeoproteins PBX and PREP cooperating with PDX1, in activating pax6b expression in endocrine pancreatic cells. This study also provides a striking example of how adaptative evolution of gene regulatory sequences upon gene duplication progressively leads to subfunctionalization of the paralogous gene pair. [less ▲]

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See detailArabidopsis halleri, a model system to understand zinc homeostasis in plants
Hanikenne, Marc ULg; Talke, Ina N.; Hamilton, Christopher ULg et al

Poster (2007, November 16)

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See detailAnalysis of the dynamic localization of atRSZp22 splicing factor by Flip-shuttling assay
Rausin, Glwadys ULg; Tillemans, Vinciane ULg; Wernimont, Pierre et al

Poster (2007, October 11)

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See detailSox4b is required for pituitary expression of gata2 and specification of thyrotrope cells in zebrafish
Muller, Marc ULg; Mavropoulos, A.; Nica, G. et al

in Developmental Biology (2007, June 01), 306(1), 438-439

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See detailA major quantitative trait locus for cadmium tolerance in Arabidopsis halleri colocalizes with HMA4, a gene encoding a heavy metal ATPase
Courbot, M.; Willems, G.; Motte, Patrick ULg et al

in Plant Physiology (2007), 144(2), 1052-1065

Cadmium (Cd) tolerance seems to be a constitutive species-level trait in Arabidopsis halleri sp. halleri. Therefore, an interspecific cross was made between A. halleri and its closest nontolerant ... [more ▼]

Cadmium (Cd) tolerance seems to be a constitutive species-level trait in Arabidopsis halleri sp. halleri. Therefore, an interspecific cross was made between A. halleri and its closest nontolerant interfertile relative, Arabidopsis lyrata sp. petraea, and a first-generation backcross population (BC1) was used to map quantitative trait loci (QTL) for Cd tolerance. Three QTL were identified, which explained 43%, 24%, and 16% of the phenotypic variation in the mapping population. Heavy metal transporting ATPases4 (HMA4), encoding a predicted heavy metal ATPase, colocalized with the peak of the major QTL Cdtol-1 and was consequently further studied. HMA4 transcripts levels were higher in the roots and the shoots of A. halleri than in A. lyrata sp. petraea. Furthermore, HMA4 was also more highly expressed in all BC1 genotypes harboring the HMA4 A. halleri allele at the QTL Cdtol-1, independently of the presence of an A. halleri allele at the two other QTL. Overexpression of AhHMA4 in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) supported a role of HMA4 in zinc (Zn) and Cd transport by reducing the Cd and Zn contents of the yeast cells. In epidermal tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) cells, AhHMA4:green fluorescent protein was clearly localized in the plasma membrane. Taken together, all available data point to the elevated expression of HMA4P(1B)-type ATPase as an efficient mechanism for improving Cd/ Zn tolerance in plants under conditions of Cd/ Zn excess by maintaining low cellular Cd2+ and Zn2+ concentrations in the cytoplasm. [less ▲]

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See detailCalsenilin is required for endocrine pancreas development in zebrafish.
Stetsyuk, V.; Peers, Bernard ULg; Mavropoulos, A. et al

in Developmental Dynamics : An Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists (2007), 236(6), 1517-25

Calsenilin/DREAM/Kchip3 is a neuronal calcium-binding protein. It is a multifunctional protein, mainly expressed in neural tissues and implicated in regulation of presenilin processing, repression of ... [more ▼]

Calsenilin/DREAM/Kchip3 is a neuronal calcium-binding protein. It is a multifunctional protein, mainly expressed in neural tissues and implicated in regulation of presenilin processing, repression of transcription, and modulation of A-type potassium channels. Here, we performed a search for new genes expressed during pancreatic development and have studied the spatiotemporal expression pattern and possible role of calsenilin in pancreatic development in zebrafish. We detected calsenilin transcripts in the pancreas from 21 somites to 39 hours postfertilization stages. Using double in situ hybridization, we found that the calsenilin gene was expressed in pancreatic endocrine cells. Loss-of-function experiments with anti-calsenilin morpholinos demonstrated that injected morphants have a significant decrease in the number of pancreatic endocrine cells. Furthermore, the knockdown of calsenilin leads to perturbation in islet morphogenesis, suggesting that calsenilin is required for early islet cell migration. Taken together, our results show that zebrafish calsenilin is involved in endocrine cell differentiation and morphogenesis within the pancreas. [less ▲]

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See detailTumoral and choroidal vascularization: differential cellular mechanisms involving plasminogen activator inhibitor type I.
Jost, Maud; Maillard, Catherine ULg; Lecomte, Julie ULg et al

in American Journal of Pathology (2007), 171(4), 1369-80

An adequate balance between serine proteases and their plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is critical for pathological angiogenesis. PAI-1 deficiency in mice is associated with impaired choroidal ... [more ▼]

An adequate balance between serine proteases and their plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is critical for pathological angiogenesis. PAI-1 deficiency in mice is associated with impaired choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and tumoral angiogenesis. In the present work, we demonstrate unexpected differences in the contribution of bone marrow (BM)-derived cells in these two processes regulated by PAI-1. PAI-1(-/-) mice grafted with BM-derived from wild-type mice were able to support laser-induced CNV formation but not skin carcinoma vascularization. Engraftment of irradiated wild-type mice with PAI-1(-/-) BM prevented CNV formation, demonstrating the crucial role of PAI-1 delivered by BM-derived cells. In contrast, the transient infiltration of tumor transplants by local PAI-1-producing host cells rather than by BM cells was sufficient to rescue tumor growth and angiogenesis in PAI-1-deficient mice. These data identify PAI-1 as a molecular determinant of a local permissive soil for tumor angiogenesis. Altogether, the present study demonstrates that different cellular mechanisms contribute to PAI-1-regulated tumoral and CNV. PAI-1 contributes to BM-dependent choroidal vascularization and to BM-independent tumor growth and angiogenesis. [less ▲]

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See detailGene regulation in Arabidopsis halleri, a model system to understand zinc homeostasis in plants.
Hanikenne, Marc ULg; Talke, Ina N.; Lanz, Christa et al

Conference (2006, December 18)

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See detailInsights into nuclear organization in plants as revealed by the dynamic distribution of Arabidopsis SR splicing factors
Tillemans, Vinciane ULg; Leponce, Isabelle ULg; Rausin, Glwadys ULg et al

in Plant Cell (2006), 18(11), 3218-3234

Serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins are splicing regulators that share a modular structure consisting of one or two N-terminal RNA recognition motif domains and a C-terminal RS-rich domain. We investigated ... [more ▼]

Serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins are splicing regulators that share a modular structure consisting of one or two N-terminal RNA recognition motif domains and a C-terminal RS-rich domain. We investigated the dynamic localization of the Arabidopsis thaliana SR protein RSZp22, which, as we showed previously, distributes in predominant speckle-like structures and in the nucleolus. To determine the role of RSZp22 diverse domains in its nucleolar distribution, we investigated the subnuclear localization of domain-deleted mutant proteins. Our results suggest that the nucleolar localization of RSZp22 does not depend on a single targeting signal but likely involves different domains/motifs. Photobleaching experiments demonstrated the unrestricted dynamics of RSZp22 between nuclear compartments. Selective inhibitor experiments of ongoing cellular phosphorylation influenced the rates of exchange of RSZp22 between the different nuclear territories, indicating that SR protein mobility is dependent on the phosphorylation state of the cell. Furthermore, based on a leptomycin B- and fluorescence loss in photobleaching-based sensitive assay, we suggest that RSZp22 is a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein. Finally, with electron microscopy, we confirmed that RSp31, a plant-specific SR protein, is dynamically distributed in nucleolar cap-like structures upon phosphorylation inhibition. Our findings emphasize the high mobility of Arabidopsis SR splicing factors and provide insights into the dynamic relationships between the different nuclear compartments. [less ▲]

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See detailExpression of the somatolactin beta gene during zebrafish embryonic development
Lopez, Mauricio; Nica, G.; Motte, Patrick ULg et al

in Gene Expression Patterns (2006), 6(2), 156-161

Somatolactin (Sl) is a pituitary hormone closely related to prolactin (Prl) and growth hormone that was until now only found in various fish species. We isolated the cDNA coding for zebrafish Sl beta and ... [more ▼]

Somatolactin (Sl) is a pituitary hormone closely related to prolactin (Prl) and growth hormone that was until now only found in various fish species. We isolated the cDNA coding for zebrafish Sl beta and we identified the gene encoding this hormone. We also obtained a 1 kb genomic fragment corresponding to the sl beta upstream promoter region. Furthermore, the sl beta expression pattern was examined during zebrafish embryogenesis using whole-mount in situ hybridization. Sl beta mRNA is first detected in a single cell at the anterior border of the neural plate starting at 23 h post fertilization (hpf). Sl beta-expressing cells also express the transcription factor pit1 and are located close to prl-expressing cells. Using combined fluorescent in situ hybridization, we show that sl beta- and prl-expressing cells are clearly distinct at 29 hpf. Starting at 30 hpf, the number of sl beta positive cells increases and their location becomes more clearly distinct from lactotrope cells, in a more posterior position. At later stages (48 hpf), sl beta expression was observed posterior to growth hormone expression, again in a distinct cell type. We show that zebrafish mutants aal, as well as mutants in the pit1 gene, are deficient in sl beta expression. In conclusion, sl beta expression defines a new, additional cell type in zebrafish pituitary that depends on pit1 and aal for its differentiation. (C) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. [less ▲]

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See detailPlasminogen activator inhibitor type I (PAI-1) controls bone marrow-dependent and independent vascularization
Jost, M.; Maillard, Catherine ULg; Lambert, Vincent ULg et al

in Acta Clinica Belgica (2006), 61(2, MAR-APR), 87

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See detailFunctional distribution and dynamics of Arabidopsis SR splicing factors in living plant cells
Tillemans, Vinciane ULg; Dispa, Laurence ULg; Remacle, Claire ULg et al

in Plant Journal (The) (2005), 41(4), 567-582

Serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins constitute an important class of splicing regulators in higher eukaryotes that share a modular structure consisting of one or two N-terminal RNA recognition motif (RRM ... [more ▼]

Serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins constitute an important class of splicing regulators in higher eukaryotes that share a modular structure consisting of one or two N-terminal RNA recognition motif (RRM) domains and a C-terminal RS-rich domain. Herein, we have investigated the in vivo functional distribution of Arabidopsis SR factors. Agrobacterium-mediated transient transformation revealed nuclear speckled distribution and the overall colocalization of fluorescent protein (FP)-tagged SR factors in both tobacco and Arabidopsis cells. Their overall colocalization in larger nucleoplasmic domains was further observed after transcriptional and phosphorylation/dephosphorylation inhibition, indicating a close functional association between SR factors, independent of their phosphorylation state. Furthermore, we demonstrated in vivo the conserved role of the RS and RRM domains in the efficient targeting of Arabidopsis SR proteins to nuclear speckles by using a series of structural domain-deleted mutants of atRSp31 and atRSZp22. We suggest additional roles of RS domain such as the shuttling of atRSZp22 between nucleoplasm and nucleolus through its phosphorylation level. The coexpression of deletion mutants with wild-type SR proteins revealed potential complex associations between them. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching demonstrated similar dynamic properties of SR factors in both tobacco transiently expressing cells and Arabidopsis transgenics. Cell cycle phase-dependent organization of FP-tagged SR proteins was observed in living tobacco BY-2 cells. We showed that atRSp31 is degraded at metaphase by fluorescence quantification. SR proteins also localized within small foci at anaphase. These results demonstrate interesting related features as well as potentially important differences between plant and animal SR proteins. [less ▲]

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See detailsox4b is a key player of pancreatic alpha cell differentiation in zebrafish
Mavropoulos, A.; Devos, Nathalie; Biemar, Frédéric et al

in Developmental Biology (2005), 285(1), 211-23

Pancreas development relies on a network of transcription factors belonging mainly to the Homeodomain and basic Helix-Loop-Helix families. We show in this study that, in zebrafish, sox4, a member of the ... [more ▼]

Pancreas development relies on a network of transcription factors belonging mainly to the Homeodomain and basic Helix-Loop-Helix families. We show in this study that, in zebrafish, sox4, a member of the SRY-like HMG-box (SOX) family, is required for proper endocrine cell differentiation. We found that two genes orthologous to mammalian Sox4 are present in zebrafish and that only one of them, sox4b, is strongly expressed in the pancreatic anlage. Transcripts of sox4b were detected in mid-trunk endoderm from the 5-somite stage, well before the onset of expression of the early pancreatic gene pdx-1. Furthermore, by fluorescent double in situ hybridization, we found that expression of sox4b is mostly restricted to precursors of the endocrine compartment. This expression is not maintained in differentiated cells although transient expression can be detected in alpha cells and some beta cells. That sox4b-expressing cells belong to the endocrine lineage is further illustrated by their absence from the pancreata of slow-muscle-omitted mutant embryos, which specifically lack all early endocrine markers while retaining expression of exocrine markers. The involvement of sox4b in cell differentiation is suggested firstly by its up-regulation in mind bomb mutant embryos displaying accelerated pancreatic cell differentiation. In addition, sox4b knock-down leads to a drastic reduction in glucagon expression, while other pancreatic markers including insulin, somatostatin, and trypsin are not significantly affected. This disruption of alpha cell differentiation is due to down-regulation of the homeobox arx gene specifically in the pancreas. Taken together, these data demonstrate that, in zebrafish, sox4b is expressed transiently during endocrine cell differentiation and plays a crucial role in the generation of alpha endocrine cells. [less ▲]

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See detailA mitochondrial half-size ABC transporter is involved in cadmium tolerance in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Hanikenne, Marc ULg; Motte, Patrick ULg; Wu, Madeline C.S. et al

in Plant Cell and Environment (2005), 28(7), 863-873

Five cadmium-sensitive insertional mutants, all affected at the CDS1 ('cadmium-sensitive 1') locus, have been previously isolated in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We here describe ... [more ▼]

Five cadmium-sensitive insertional mutants, all affected at the CDS1 ('cadmium-sensitive 1') locus, have been previously isolated in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We here describe the cloning of the Cds1 gene (8314 bp with 26 introns) and the corresponding cDNA. The Cds1 gene, strongly induced by cadmium, encodes a putative protein (CrCds1) of 1062 amino acid residues that belongs to the ATM/HMT subfamily of half-size ABC transporters. This subfamily includes both vacuolar HMT-type proteins transporting phytochelatin-cadmium complexes from the cytoplasm to the vacuole and mitochondrial ATM-type proteins involved in the maturation of cytosolic Fe/S proteins. Unlike the Delta sphmt1 cadmium-sensitive mutant of Schizosaccharomyces pombe that lacks a vacuolar HMT-type transporter, the cds1 mutant accumulates a high amount of phytochelatin-cadmium complexes. By epitope tagging, the CrCds1 protein was localized in the mitochondria. Even though mitochondria of cds1 do not accumulate important amounts of 'free' iron, the mutant cells are hypersensitive to high iron concentrations. Our data show for the first time that a mitochondrial ATM-like transporter plays a major role in tolerance to cadmium. [less ▲]

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See detailADAMTS-2, a metalloproteinase containing a disintegrin domain and thrombospondin type I repeats, a new regulator of angiogenesis
Dubail, Johanne ULg; Kesteloot, Frédéric ULg; Motte, Patrick ULg et al

in Journal of Vascular Research (2005), 42(Suppl. 2), 76

Enzymes of the ADAMTS family are closely related to MMPs and ADAMs. They further contain specific domains, such as the “ThromboSpondin type I” (TSP1) repeats able to strongly repress angiogenesis. The ... [more ▼]

Enzymes of the ADAMTS family are closely related to MMPs and ADAMs. They further contain specific domains, such as the “ThromboSpondin type I” (TSP1) repeats able to strongly repress angiogenesis. The primary function of ADAMTS-2 is to process procollagen type I, II, III and V into mature molecules by excising the amino-propeptide. We further hypothesized that it could modulate angiogenesis through its TSP1 repeats. Recombinant ADAMTS-2 induced morphological changes in HUVEC and HMEC cultured on gelatin, collagen and fibronectin. It also significantly reduced their proliferation, attachment and spreading. Similar effects were observed when using inactive ADAMTS-2 mutated at the Zn++-binding catalytic site. ADAMTS-2 did not alter the initial steps of formation of capillary-like structures by HUVEC in vitro. However, these structures appeared more rapidly disrupted in presence of ADAMTS-2 than in control conditions. Immunostaining with monoclonal antibodies against ADAMTS-2 indicate that it is tightly immobilized at the endothelial cell surface by an heparin-sensitive binding. With the aim to identify mechanism(s)leading to the modulation of angiogenesis by ADAMTS-2, we investigated various signalling pathways critical for EC. Phosphorylation status of FAK was not altered by ADAMTS-2 while a downregulation of phosphorylation of p42/44 MAPK was observed. Our data suggest that ADAMTS-2 reduces angiogenesis by regulating endothelial cell adhesion and proliferation, and by alteration of the stability of the capillary-like structures. These effects do not seem to be mediated by an integrin-dependent signaling pathway. Choroidal neovascularization induced in TS2+/+ or TS2-/- mice by LASER burns was used as in vivo model. Several genes involved in the healing and angiogenesis processes (fibrillar collagens, VEGF, TGF, CTGF, …) were not differently regulated in TS2+/+ and TS2-/- mice 5 days after the LASER impact. Wound capillaries visualized by confocal microscopy after FITC-conjugated dextran injection, were significantly increased (p<0,05) in TS2-/- mice suggesting an increased angiogenic response in the KO animals. The results obtained in in vivo and in vitro models indicate that ADAMTS-2 is involved in the control of angiogenesis. Additional investigations are being performed to determine which domain(s) of the molecule is (are) antiangiogenic and to identify the mechanism(s) underlying this regulatory function. [less ▲]

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