Live-imaging of endothelial Erk activity reveals dynamic and sequential signalling events during regenerative angiogenesis

Kazuhide S Okuda, Mikaela S Keyser, David B Gurevich, Caterina Sturtzel, Elizabeth A Mason, Scott Paterson, Huijun Chen, Mark Scott, Nicholas D Condon, Paul Martin, Martin Distel, Benjamin M Hogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


The formation of new blood vessel networks occurs via angiogenesis during development, tissue repair, and disease. Angiogenesis is regulated by intracellular endothelial signalling pathways, induced downstream of vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) and their receptors (VEGFRs). A major challenge in understanding angiogenesis is interpreting how signalling events occur dynamically within endothelial cell populations during sprouting, proliferation, and migration. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) is a central downstream effector of Vegf-signalling and reports the signalling that drives angiogenesis. We generated a vascular Erk biosensor transgenic line in zebrafish using a kinase translocation reporter that allows live-imaging of Erk-signalling dynamics. We demonstrate the utility of this line to live-image Erk activity during physiologically relevant angiogenic events. Further, we reveal dynamic and sequential endothelial cell Erk-signalling events following blood vessel wounding. Initial signalling is dependent upon Ca 2+ in the earliest responding endothelial cells, but is independent of Vegfr-signalling and local inflammation. The sustained regenerative response, however, involves a Vegfr-dependent mechanism that initiates concomitantly with the wound inflammatory response. This work reveals a highly dynamic sequence of signalling events in regenerative angiogenesis and validates a new resource for the study of vascular Erk-signalling in real-time.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62196
Early online date18 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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