Lmo2 (LIM-Domain-Only 2) Modulates Sphk1 (Sphingosine Kinase) and Promotes Endothelial Cell Migration

Gianfranco Matrone, Shu Meng, Qilin Gu, Jie Lv, Longhou Fang, Kaifu Chen, John P Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Lmo (LIM-domain-only)2 transcription factor is involved in hematopoiesis and vascular remodeling. Sphk (sphingosine kinase)1 phosphorylates sphingosine to S1P (sphingosine-1-phosphate). We hypothesized that Lmo2 regulates Sphk1 to promote endothelial cell (EC) migration and vascular development. APPROACH AND RESULTS: Lmo2 and Sphk1 knockdown (KD) were performed in Tg(fli1:EGFP) y1 zebrafish and in human umbilical vein EC. Rescue of phenotypes or overexpression of these factors were achieved using mRNA encoding Lmo2 or Sphk1. EC proliferation in vivo was assessed by BrdU (bromodeoxyuridine) immunostaining and fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis of dissociated Tg(fli1:EGFP) y1 embryos. Cell migration was assessed by scratch assay in human umbilical vein EC and mouse aortic rings. Lmo2 interactions with Sphk1 promoter were assessed by ChIP-PCR (chromatin immunoprecipitation-polymerase chain reaction). Lmo2 or Sphk1 KD reduced number and length of intersegmental vessels. There was no reduction in the numbers of GFP+ (green fluorescent protein) ECs after Lmo2 KD. However, reduced numbers of BrdU+GFP+ nuclei were observed along the dysmorphic intersegmental vessels, accumulating instead at the sprouting origin of the intersegmental vessels. This anomaly was likely because of impaired EC migration, which was confirmed in migration assays using Lmo2 KD human umbilical vein ECs and mouse aortic rings. Both in vivo and in vitro, Lmo2 KD reduced Sphk1 gene expression, associated with less Lmo2 binding to the Sphk1 promoter as assessed by ChIP-PCR. Sphk1 mRNA rescued the Lmo2 KD phenotype.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data showed that Lmo2 is necessary for Sphk1 gene expression in ECs. Lmo2 KD reduced Lmo2-Sphk1 gene interaction, impaired intersegmental vessels formation, and reduced cell migration. We identified for the first time Sphk1 as downstream effector of Lmo2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1860-1868
Number of pages9
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number10
Early online dateAug 3 2017
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • endothelium
  • hematopoiesis
  • Lmo2
  • migration
  • Sphk1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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