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Title: Role of Notch ligands in tumour angiogenesis
Author: Oon, Chern
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 1997
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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The well conserved Notch signalling pathway plays a crucial role in vascular development and physiology. Delta-like 4 (DLL4) and Jagged1 (JAG1) are two key notch ligands implicated in angiogenesis. Both ligands were shown to have opposite effects on vasculature. DLL4-Notch signalling inhibits sprouting resulting in fewer but better perfused blood vessels, promoting tumour growth. In contrast to DLL4, very little is known about JAG1- Notch signalling in tumour angiogenesis and its influence on tumour growth and progression. The overall aim of this work is to study the functional difference between DLL4 and JAG1-Notch signalling. The effects of murine DLL4 and murine JAG1 over-expression on tumour growth and angiogenesis was also investigated in a mouse U87 xenograft model. Firstly, the downstream target genes of DLL4 and JAG1-Notch signalling were established through microarray and QPCR. Angiogenic assays such as sprouting, network formation and migration assays were employed to study the functional effects of these two ligands in endothelial cells. The thesis firstly demonstrates that JAG1 has opposing effects on endothelial cells compared to DLL4 by increasing sprout coverage and network formation. JAG1 is less potent than DLL4 in stimulation of Notch target genes in primary endothelial cell (HUVEC) but both displayed equal potency in HMEC-1, an immortalised endothelial cell line. The growth of U87 cell lines which over-expressed murine DLL4 or murine JAG1 was slower compared to wild-type U87 cell line in vitro. JAG1- and DLL4- Notch signaling have different effects on vessel formation, which impacted on the tumour growth in vivo. Interestingly, tumours over-expressing mDLL4 had less but larger vessels compared to control, whereas mJAG1 produced more yet functional vessels; both tumours had significantly reduced pericyte coverage. Both U87 mDLL4 and mJAG1 over-expressing tumours showed increased resistance towards anti-VEGF therapy, compared to control tumours. Sensitivity to therapy was restored in combinational treatment with DBZ and bevacizumab. The mechanism behind the differential responsiveness of the Notch receptors to DLL4 or JAG1 ligands could either reflect modulation by fringes, a family of glycosyltransferases that regulate Notch signalling or by a positive feedback loop present for DLL4-Notch signalling only. Fringe was found to be abundantly expressed in endothelial cells and highly vascularised tumours. This work has highlighted some key novel differences between the two Notch Ligands.
Supervisor: Harris, Adrian L. Sponsor: Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Tumours ; Medical Sciences ; Angiogenesis