Precise control of myeloid cell activation is required for optimal host defense. However, this activation process must be under exquisite control to prevent uncontrolled inflammation. Herein, we identify the Kruppel-like transcription factor 2 (KLF2) as a potent regulator of myeloid cell activation in vivo. Exposure of myeloid cells to hypoxia and/or bacterial products reduced KLF2 expression while inducing hypoxia indusable factor-1α (HIF-1α), findings that were recapitulated in human septic patients. Myeloid KLF2 was found to be a potent inhibitor of nuclear factor-kappaB (NFκB)-dependent HIF-1α transcription and, consequently, a critical determinant of outcome in models of polymicrobial infection and endotoxemia. Collectively, these observations identify KLF2 as a tonic repressor of myeloid cell activation in vivo and an essential regulator of the innate immune system.
The ability of skeletal muscle to enhance lipid utilization during exercise is a form of metabolic plasticity essential for survival. Conversely, metabolic inflexibility in muscle can cause organ dysfunction and disease. Although the transcription factor Kruppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) is an important regulator of glucose and amino acid metabolism, its endogenous role in lipid homeostasis and muscle physiology is unknown. Here we demonstrate that KLF15 is essential for skeletal muscle lipid utilization and physiologic performance. KLF15 directly regulates a broad transcriptional program spanning all major segments of the lipid-flux pathway in muscle. Consequently, Klf15-deficient mice have abnormal lipid and energy flux, excessive reliance on carbohydrate fuels, exaggerated muscle fatigue, and impaired endurance exercise capacity. Elucidation of this heretofore unrecognized role for KLF15 now implicates this factor as a central component of the transcriptional circuitry that coordinates physiologic flux of all three basic cellular nutrients: glucose, amino acids, and lipids.
The evolutionarily conserved Notch signaling pathway is required for normal vascular development and function, and genetic associations link select Notch receptors and ligands to human clinical syndromes featuring blood vessel abnormalities and stroke susceptibility. A previously described mouse model engineered to suppress canonical Notch signaling in vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMCs) revealed surprising anatomical defects in arterial patterning and vessel maturation, suggesting that vSMCs have the functional capacity to influence blood vessel formation in a Notch signaling-dependent manner. In further analyses using this model system, we now show that explanted aortic ring tissue and Matrigel implants from the smooth muscle Notch signaling-deficient mice yield markedly diminished responses to angiogenic stimuli. Furthermore, cultured Notch signaling-deficient primary vSMCs have reduced proliferation and migration capacities and reveal diminished expression of PDGF receptor β and JAGGED1 ligand. These observations prompted a series of endothelial cell (EC)-vSMC co-culture experiments that revealed a requirement for intact vSMC Notch signals via JAGGED1 for efficient EC Notch1 receptor activation and EC proliferation. Taken together, these studies suggest a heterotypic model wherein Notch signaling in vSMCs provides early instructive cues to neighboring ECs important for optimal postnatal angiogenesis.
The endothelium regulates vascular homeostasis, and endothelial dysfunction is a proximate event in the pathogenesis of atherothrombosis. Stimulation of the endothelium with proinflammatory cytokines or exposure to hemodynamic-induced disturbed flow leads to a proadhesive and prothrombotic phenotype that promotes atherothrombosis. In contrast, exposure to arterial laminar flow induces a gene program that confers a largely antiadhesive, antithrombotic effect. The molecular basis for this differential effect on endothelial function remains poorly understood. While recent insights implicate Kruppel-like factors (KLFs) as important regulators of vascular homeostasis, the in vivo role of these factors in endothelial biology remains unproven. Here, we show that endothelial KLF4 is an essential determinant of atherogenesis and thrombosis. Using in vivo EC-specific KLF4 overexpression and knockdown murine models, we found that KLF4 induced an antiadhesive, antithrombotic state. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that KLF4 differentially regulated pertinent endothelial targets via competition for the coactivator p300. These observations provide cogent evidence implicating endothelial KLFs as essential in vivo regulators of vascular function in the adult animal.