, Volume 116, Issue 6, pp 535-543
Date: 23 Nov 2001

Distribution, cellular localization, and postnatal development of VASP and Mena expression in mouse tissues

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Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) and mammalian Enabled (Mena) are members of the proline-rich Ena/VASP protein family that links the cell membrane proteins, signal transduction pathways, and the actin cytoskeleton. VASP and Mena, substrates of cyclic nucleotide-dependent protein kinases, are associated in different cell types with microfilaments, focal adhesions, cell–cell contacts, and highly dynamic membrane regions. Here, the analysis of mRNA and protein expression, cellular localization, and postnatal development of VASP in different mouse tissues is reported and compared with that of Mena. The expression levels of VASP and Mena differ markedly among various tissues and cell types. The highest levels of VASP are observed in platelets, but stomach, intestine, spleen, lung, and blood vessels are also rich sources of VASP. Mena is abundantly expressed in brain, whereas it is not detectable in platelets and spleen. In intestine and stomach, prominent VASP and Mena immunoreactivity is detected in intestinal smooth muscle cells and blood vessels and cellular membranes of epithelial cells. In kidney, VASP and Mena are abundantly expressed in glomerular mesangial cells and in papilla. VASP and Mena immunoreactivity in heart is associated with blood vessels and with the intercalated discs of cardiac myocytes, where they colocalize with connexin-43. During postnatal development of heart, the level of VASP and Mena expression gradually decreases from neonatal to adult animals. The data demonstrate a clear colocalization of VASP and Mena in cells of stomach, intestine, kidney, and heart. These data and other recent developments suggest that proteins of the Ena/VASP family exert similar functions and may compensate for each other in these tissues.

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