Angiogenesis & Vascular Differentiation

Research Interest

The development of a functional vasculature requires the formation of a highly structured network that subsequently undergoes organotypic and arteriovenous differentiation. The VEGF/VEGFR system controls the formation and maturation of the endothelium and acts as a potent permeability regulating system. During further embryonic vascular development and adult angiogenesis, sprouting vessels face similar guidance decisions as migrating axons. Many guidance molecules, first characterized in the nervous system, are part of the physiological or pathological vascular remodelling processes. These molecules include the Eph/ephrin, the Neuropilin/Plexin/Semaphorin and the UNC/netrin  receptor-ligand systems. In adulthood, the Angiopoietin/Tie system acts as a critical regulator of vascular maintenance and quiescence. Constitutive Ang-1/Tie2 signaling is required in the adult to maintain the quiescent phenotype of the vascular endothelium. Among the angiopoietins are Ang-1 and Ang-2 the hitherto best characterized family members. The opposing effects of Ang-1 and Ang-2 support a model of constitutive Ang-1/Tie2 interactions controlling vascular homeostasis as default pathway and Ang-2 acting as dynamically regulated antagonizing cytokine. It is now increasingly recognized that developmental vascular morphogenic signalling molecules also exert critical and rate-limiting vascular homeostatic maintenance functions in the adult. Research within the Angiogenesis & Vascular Differentiation group focuses on the role of the Angiopoietin/Tie in the regulation of vascular homeostasis and remodelling and on the characterization of guidance molecules during vascular development and function.

Current Projects:

  • Analyzing the molecular mechanisms by which Ang-2 antagonizes Ang-1 functions.
  • Studying Ang-2 functions in physiological and pathological angiogenesis in vivo.
  • Functional analysis of endothelial Tie1/Tie2 interaction and Tie1 effector functions.
  • Regulation of angiogenesis-related endothelial cell functions by the guidance molecules neuropilins and semaphorins.

Please contact Prof. Dr. Hellmut Augustin for further information:

=> CV of Prof. Dr. Hellmut Augustin

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