Michael Simons

Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, United States

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Publications (236)1975.01 Total impact

  • Natalie Kofler · Michael Simons
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose of review: Long recognized for its role in regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor signaling, neuropilin (Nrp)1 has emerged as a modulator of additional signaling pathways critical for vascular development and function. Here we review two novel functions of Nrp1 in blood vessels: regulation of transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) signaling in endothelial cells and regulation of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) signaling in vascular smooth muscle cells. Recent findings: Novel mouse models demonstrate that Nrp1 fulfills vascular functions independent of vascular endothelial growth factor signaling. These include modulation of TGFβ-dependent inhibition of endothelial sprouting during developmental angiogenesis and PDGF signaling in vascular smooth muscle cells during development and disease. Summary: Broadening our understanding of how and where Nrp1 functions in the vasculature is critical for the development of targeted therapeutics for cancer and vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and retinopathies.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2016 · Current opinion in hematology
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    Xiaojia Guo · Rong Ju · Charles Cha · Michael Simons

    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · F1000 Research
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    ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms responsible for the development and progression of atherosclerotic lesions have not been fully established. Here, we investigated the role played by endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT) and its key regulator FGF receptor 1 (FGFR1) in atherosclerosis. In cultured human endothelial cells, both inflammatory cytokines and oscillatory shear stress reduced endothelial FGFR1 expression and activated TGF-â signaling. We further explored the link between disrupted FGF endothelial signaling and progression of atherosclerosis by introducing endothelial-specific deletion of FGF receptor substrate 2 á (Frs2a) in atherosclerotic (Apoe-/-) mice. When placed on a high-fat diet, these double-knockout mice developed atherosclerosis at a much earlier time point compared with that their Apoe-/-counterparts, eventually demonstrating an 84% increase in total plaque burden. Moreover, these animals exhibited extensive development of EndMT, deposition of fibronectin, and increased neointima formation. Additionally, we conducted a molecular and morphometric examination of left main coronary arteries from 43 patients with various levels of coronary disease to assess the clinical relevance of these findings. The extent of coronary atherosclerosis in this patient set strongly correlated with loss of endothelial FGFR1 expression, activation of endothelial TGF-â signaling, and the extent of EndMT. These data demonstrate a link between loss of protective endothelial FGFR signaling, development of EndMT, and progression of atherosclerosis.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Clinical Investigation
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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of endothelial-derived miR-17∼92 to ischemia-induced arteriogenesis has not been investigated in an in vivo model. In the present study, we demonstrate a critical role for the endothelial-derived miR-17∼92 cluster in shaping physiological and ischemia-triggered arteriogenesis. Endothelial-specific deletion of miR-17∼92 results in an increase in collateral density limbs and hearts and in ischemic limbs compared with control mice, and consequently improves blood flow recovery. Individual cluster components positively or negatively regulate endothelial cell (EC) functions in vitro, and, remarkably, ECs lacking the cluster spontaneously form cords in a manner rescued by miR-17a, -18a, and -19a. Using both in vitro and in vivo analyses, we identified FZD4 and LRP6 as targets of miR-19a/b. Both of these targets were up-regulated in 17∼92 KO ECs compared with control ECs, and both were shown to be targeted by miR-19 using luciferase assays. We demonstrate that miR-19a negatively regulates FZD4, its coreceptor LRP6, and WNT signaling, and that antagonism of miR-19a/b in aged mice improves blood flow recovery after ischemia and reduces repression of these targets. Collectively, these data provide insights into miRNA regulation of arterialization and highlight the importance of vascular WNT signaling in maintaining arterial blood flow.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: In mice and humans, loss of myosin VI (Myo6) function results in deafness, and certain Myo6 mutations also result in cardiomyopathies in humans. The current studies have utilized the Snell's waltzer (sv) mouse (a functional null mutation for Myo6) to determine if this mouse also exhibits cardiac defects and thus used to determine the cellular and molecular basis for Myo6-associated heart disease. Myo6 is expressed in mouse heart where it is predominantly expressed in vascular endothelial cells (VECs) based on co-localization with the VEC cell marker CD31. Sv/sv heart mass is significantly greater than that of sv/+ littermates, a result of left ventricle hypertrophy. The left ventricle of the sv/sv exhibits extensive fibrosis, both interstitial and perivascular, based on histologic staining, and immunolocalization of several markers for fibrosis including fibronectin, collagen IV, and the fibroblast marker vimentin. Myo6 is also expressed in lung VECs but not in VECs of intestine, kidney or liver. Sv/sv lungs exhibit increased peri-aveolar fibrosis and enlarged air sacs. Electron microscopy of sv/sv cardiac and lung VECs revealed abnormal ultrastructure, including luminal protrusions and increased numbers of cytoplasmic vesicles. Previous studies have shown that loss of function of either Myo6 or its adaptor binding partner synectin/GIPC results in impaired arterial development due to defects in VEGF signaling. However, examination of synectin/GIPC -/- heart revealed no fibrosis or significantly altered VEC ultrastructure, suggesting that the cardiac and lung defects observed in the sv/sv mouse are not due to Myo6 function in arterial development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Cytoskeleton
  • Michael Simons · Anne Eichmann
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    ABSTRACT: Formation of arterial vasculature, here termed arteriogenesis, is a central process in embryonic vascular development as well as in adult tissues. Although the process of capillary formation, angiogenesis, is relatively well understood, much remains to be learned about arteriogenesis. Recent discoveries point to the key role played by vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 in control of this process and to newly identified control circuits that dramatically influence its activity. The latter can present particularly attractive targets for a new class of therapeutic agents capable of activation of this signaling cascade in a ligand-independent manner, thereby promoting arteriogenesis in diseased tissues.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Circulation Research
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    Nicolas Ricard · Michael Simons
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    ABSTRACT: Blood vascular networks in vertebrates are essential to tissue survival. Establishment of a fully functional vasculature is complex and requires a number of steps including vasculogenesis and angiogenesis that are followed by differentiation into specialized vascular tissues (i.e., arteries, veins, and lymphatics) and organ-specific differentiation. However, an equally essential step in this process is the pruning of excessive blood vessels. Recent studies have shown that pruning is critical for the effective perfusion of blood into tissues. Despite its significance, vessel pruning is the least understood process in vascular differentiation and development. Two recently published PLOS Biology papers provide important new information about cellular dynamics of vascular regression.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · PLoS Biology
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    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Circulation Research
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    ABSTRACT: Neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) is a multidomain membrane receptor involved in angiogenesis and development of neuronal circuits, however, the role of NRP-1 in cardiovascular pathophysiology remains elusive. In this study, we first observed that deletion of NRP-1 induced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α in cardiomyocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells, which was accompanied by dysregulated cardiac mitochondrial accumulation and induction of cardiac hypertrophy- and stress-related markers. To investigate the role of NRP-1 in vivo, we generated mice lacking Nrp-1 in cardiomyocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells (SM22-α-Nrp-1 KO), which exhibited decreased survival rates, developed cardiomyopathy, and aggravated ischemia-induced heart failure. Mechanistically, we found that NRP-1 specifically controls peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1 α and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ in cardiomyocytes through crosstalk with Notch1 and Smad2 signaling pathways, respectively. Moreover, SM22-α-Nrp-1 KO mice exhibited impaired physical activities and altered metabolite levels in serum, liver, and adipose tissues, as demonstrated by global metabolic profiling analysis. Our findings provide new insights into the cardioprotective role of NRP-1 and its influence on global metabolism. © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
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    Natalie M Kofler · Michael Simons
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    ABSTRACT: All F1000Prime Reports articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/legalcode), which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found at: Abstract In development and disease, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) regulates the expansion of the vascular tree. In response to hypoxia, VEGF promotes new capillary formation through the process of angiogenesis by inducing endothelial cell sprouting, proliferation, and migration. Wound healing, tissue regeneration, and tumor growth depend on angiogenesis for adequate nutrient and oxygen delivery. Under different conditions, VEGF promotes arterial growth, modulates lumen expansion, and induces collateral vessel formation, events collectively referred to as arteriogenesis. Induction of arteriogenesis after cardiac or cerebral arterial occlusion can reduce ischemia and improve disease outcome. Endothelial VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) signaling governs both processes. However, modulation of downstream VEGF signaling effectors, such as extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation, differs in order to achieve angiogenic versus arteriogenic outcomes. Recent reports show that neuropilin 1 (NRP1), a VEGF receptor, can instill VEGF signaling outcomes that specifically regulate either angiogenesis or arteriogenesis. Here, we discuss how NRP1 functions as a VEGFR2 co-receptor in angiogenesis and a modulator of VEGFR2 trafficking in arteriogenesis. The unique role played by neuropilin in different endothelial processes makes it an exciting therapeutic target to specifically enhance angiogenesis or arteriogenesis in disease settings.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · F1000 Prime Reports
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    Full-text · Dataset · Feb 2015
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    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of the American College of Cardiology
  • Yong Deng · Xi Zhang · Michael Simons
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    ABSTRACT: Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 3 (VEGFR3) plays important roles both in lymphangiogenesis and angiogenesis. On stimulation by its ligand VEGF-C, VEGFR3 is able to form both homodimers as well as heterodimers with VEGFR2 and activates several downstream signal pathways, including extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)1/2 and protein kinase B (AKT). Despite certain similarities with VEGFR2, molecular features of VEGFR3 signaling are still largely unknown. Human dermal lymphatic endothelial cells were used to examine VEGF-C-driven activation of signaling. Compared with VEGF-A activation of VEGFR2, VEGF-C-induced VEGFR3 activation led to a more extensive AKT activation, whereas activation of ERK1/2 displayed a distinctly different kinetics. Furthermore, VEGF-C, but not VEGF-A, induced formation of VEGFR3/VEGFR2 complexes. Silencing VEGFR2 or its partner neuropilin 1 specifically abolished VEGF-C-induced AKT but not ERK activation, whereas silencing of neuropilin 2 had little effect on either signaling pathway. Finally, suppression of vascular endothelial phosphotyrosine phosphatase but not other phosphotyrosine phosphatases enhanced VEGF-C-induced activation of both ERK and AKT pathways. Functionally, both ERK and AKT pathways are important for lymphatic endothelial cells migration. VEGF-C activates AKT signaling via formation of VEGFR3/VEGFR2 complex, whereas ERK is activated by VEGFR3 homodimer. Neuropilin 1 and vascular endothelial phosphotyrosine phosphatase are involved in regulation of VEGFR3 signaling. © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Posttranscriptional RNA regulation is important in determining the plasticity of cellular phenotypes. However, mechanisms of how RNA binding proteins (RBPs) influence cellular behavior are poorly understood. We show here that the RBP embryonic lethal abnormal vision like 1 (ELAVL1, also know as HuR) regulates the alternative splicing of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E nuclear import factor 1 (Eif4enif1), which encodes an eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E transporter (4E-T) protein and suppresses the expression of capped mRNAs. In the absence of ELAVL1, skipping of exon 11 of Eif4enif1 forms the stable, short isoform, 4E-Ts. This alternative splicing event results in the formation of RNA processing bodies (PBs), enhanced turnover of angiogenic mRNAs, and suppressed sprouting behavior of vascular endothelial cells. Further, endothelial-specific Elavl1 knockout mice exhibited reduced revascularization after hind limb ischemia and tumor angiogenesis in oncogene-induced mammary cancer, resulting in attenuated blood flow and tumor growth, respectively. ELAVL1-regulated alternative splicing of Eif4enif1 leading to enhanced formation of PB and mRNA turnover constitutes a novel posttranscriptional mechanism critical for pathological angiogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Atherosclerotic plaque localization correlates with regions of disturbed flow in which endothelial cells (ECs) align poorly, whereas sustained laminar flow correlates with cell alignment in the direction of flow and resistance to atherosclerosis. We now report that in hypercholesterolemic mice, deletion of syndecan 4 (S4(-/-)) drastically increased atherosclerotic plaque burden with the appearance of plaque in normally resistant locations. Strikingly, ECs from the thoracic aortas of S4(-/-) mice were poorly aligned in the direction of the flow. Depletion of S4 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) using shRNA also inhibited flow-induced alignment in vitro, which was rescued by re-expression of S4. This effect was highly specific, as flow activation of VEGF receptor 2 and NF-κB was normal. S4-depleted ECs aligned in cyclic stretch and even elongated under flow, although nondirectionally. EC alignment was previously found to have a causal role in modulating activation of inflammatory versus antiinflammatory pathways by flow. Consistent with these results, S4-depleted HUVECs in long-term laminar flow showed increased activation of proinflammatory NF-κB and decreased induction of antiinflammatory kruppel-like factor (KLF) 2 and KLF4. Thus, S4 plays a critical role in sensing flow direction to promote cell alignment and inhibit atherosclerosis.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Vascular remodeling is essential for tissue repair and is regulated by multiple factors including thrombospondin-2 (TSP2) and hypoxia/VEGF-induced activation of Akt. In contrast to TSP2 knockout (KO) mice, Akt1 KO mice have elevated TSP2 expression and delayed tissue repair. To investigate the contribution of increased TSP2 to Akt1 KO mice phenotypes, we generated Akt1/TSP2 double KO (DKO) mice. Full thickness excisional wounds in DKO mice healed at an accelerated rate when compared to Akt1 KO mice. Isolated dermal Akt1 KO fibroblasts expressed increased TSP2 and displayed altered morphology and defects in migration and adhesion. These defects were rescued in DKO fibroblasts or after TSP2 knockdown. Conversely, addition of exogenous TSP2 to WT cells induced cell morphology and migration rates that were similar to Akt1 KO cells. Akt1 KO fibroblasts displayed reduced adhesion to fibronectin with manganese stimulation when compared to WT and DKO cells, revealing an Akt1-dependent role for TSP2 in regulating integrin-mediated adhesions, however, this effect was not due to changes in β1 integrin surface expression or activation. Consistent with these results, Akt1 KO fibroblasts displayed reduced Rac1 activation that was dependent upon expression of TSP2 and could be rescued by a constitutively active Rac mutant. Our observations show that repression of TSP2 expression is a critical aspect of Akt1 function in tissue repair.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    Nicolas Ricard · Michael Simons

    Preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Circulation Research
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    Pei-Yu Chen · Lingfeng Qin · George Tellides · Michael Simons
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    ABSTRACT: Abnormal vascular homeostasis can lead to increased proliferation of smooth muscle cells and deposition of extracellular matrix, resulting in neointima formation, which contributes to vascular lumen narrowing, a pathology that underlies diseases including transplant vasculopathy, the recurrence of stenosis, and atherosclerosis. Growth of neointima is in part due to endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT), a transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ)-driven process, which leads to increased numbers of smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts and deposition of extracellular matrix. We reported that endothelial cell-specific knockout of fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) led to activation of TGFβ signaling and development of EndMT in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, EndMT in human diseased vasculature correlated with decreased abundance of FGFR1. These findings identify FGFR1 as the key regulator of TGFβ signaling and EndMT development.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Science Signaling
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    ABSTRACT: The PI3K/Akt pathway is necessary for several key endothelial cell (EC) functions, including cell growth, migration, survival, and vascular tone. However, existing literature supports the idea that Akt can be either pro- or antiangiogenic, possibly due to compensation by multiple isoforms in the EC when a single isoform is deleted. Thus, biochemical, genetic, and proteomic studies were conducted to examine isoform-substrate specificity for Akt1 vs. Akt2. In vitro, Akt1 preferentially phosphorylates endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and promotes NO release, whereas nonphysiological overexpression of Akt2 can bypass the loss of Akt1. Conditional deletion of Akt1 in the EC, in the absence or presence of Akt2, retards retinal angiogenesis, implying that Akt1 exerts a nonredundant function during physiological angiogenesis. Finally, proteomic analysis of Akt substrates isolated from Akt1- or Akt2-deficient ECs documents that phosphorylation of multiple Akt substrates regulating angiogenic signaling is reduced in Akt1-deficient, but not Akt2-deficient, ECs, including eNOS and Forkhead box proteins. Therefore, Akt1 promotes angiogenesis largely due to phosphorylation and regulation of important downstream effectors that promote aspects of angiogenic signaling
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Myeloid cells are important contributors to arteriogenesis, but their key molecular triggers and cellular effectors are largely unknown. We report, in inflammatory monocytes, that the combination of chemokine receptor (CCR2) and adhesion receptor (β2 integrin) engagement leads to an interaction between activated Rac2 and Myosin 9 (Myh9), the heavy chain of Myosin IIA, resulting in augmented vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) expression and induction of arteriogenesis. In human monocytes, CCL2 stimulation coupled to ICAM-1 adhesion led to rapid nuclear-to-cytosolic translocation of the RNA-binding protein HuR. This activation of HuR and its stabilization of VEGF-A mRNA were Rac2-dependent, and proteomic analysis for Rac2 interactors identified the 226 kD protein Myh9. The level of induced Rac2-Myh9 interaction strongly correlated with the degree of HuR translocation. CCL2-coupled ICAM-1 adhesion-driven HuR translocation and consequent VEGF-A mRNA stabilization were absent in Myh9(-/-) macrophages. Macrophage VEGF-A production, ischemic tissue VEGF-A levels, and flow recovery to hind limb ischemia were impaired in myeloid-specific Myh9(-/-) mice, despite preserved macrophage recruitment to the ischemic muscle. Micro-CT arteriography determined the impairment to be defective induced arteriogenesis, whereas developmental vasculogenesis was unaffected. These results place the macrophage at the center of ischemia-induced arteriogenesis, and they establish a novel role for Myosin IIA in signal transduction events modulating VEGF-A expression in tissue.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · The Journal of Cell Biology

Publication Stats

12k Citations
1,975.01 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • Nationwide Children's Hospital
      Columbus, Ohio, United States
  • 2008-2015
    • Yale University
      • • Department of Cell Biology
      • • Section of Cardiovascular Medicine
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States
    • Dartmouth College
      • Department of Medicine
      Hanover, New Hampshire, United States
    • Radboud University Medical Centre (Radboudumc)
      Nymegen, Gelderland, Netherlands
  • 2008-2014
    • Yale-New Haven Hospital
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States
  • 2001-2008
    • Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center
      • Department of Surgery
      Lebanon, New Hampshire, United States
    • Dartmouth Medical School
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Pathology
      Hanover, New Hampshire, United States
  • 2006
    • Eli Lilly
      Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
  • 1997-2003
    • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1999
    • Allegheny General Hospital
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1996-1999
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1994
    • Beth Israel Medical Center
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1992
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • Department of Biology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States