Background and purpose: The extent (number and diameter) of collateral vessels varies widely and is a major determinant, along with arteriogenesis (collateral remodeling), of variation in severity of tissue injury after large artery occlusion. Differences in genetic background underlie the majority of the variation in collateral extent in mice, through alterations in collaterogenesis (embryonic collateral formation). In brain and other tissues, ≈80% of the variation in collateral extent among different mouse strains has been linked to a region on chromosome 7. We recently used congenic (CNG) fine mapping of C57BL/6 (B6, high extent) and BALB/cByJ (BC, low extent) mice to narrow the region to a 737 Kb locus, Dce1. Herein, we report the causal gene.
Methods: We used additional CNG mapping and knockout mice to narrow the number of candidate genes. Subsequent inspection identified a nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphism between B6 and BC within Rabep2 (rs33080487). We then created B6 mice with the BC single nucleotide polymorphism at this locus plus 3 other lines for predicted alteration or knockout of Rabep2 using gene editing.
Results: The single amino acid change caused by rs33080487 accounted for the difference in collateral extent and infarct volume between B6 and BC mice attributable to Dce1. Mechanistically, variants of Rabep2 altered collaterogenesis during embryogenesis but had no effect on angiogenesis examined in vivo and in vitro. Rabep2 deficiency altered endosome trafficking known to be involved in VEGF-A→VEGFR2 signaling required for collaterogenesis.
Conclusions: Naturally occurring variants of Rabep2 are major determinants of variation in collateral extent and stroke severity in mice.
Keywords: amino acids; collateral circulation; endosomes; genetic background; stroke.
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.