<p>Forkhead box (Fox) transcription factors are important regulators of cardiovascular development and several Fox-proteins have recently been shown to modulate embryonic and post-natal angiogenesis. However, the role of the FoxP subfamily, which is highly expressed in cardiovascular tissue, has not been investigated so far. Here, we show that the transcription factor FoxP1 is the highest expressed FoxP-protein in endothelial cells and that it is upregulated at the site of neovascularization during hindlimb ischemia in mice. Silencing of FoxP1 results in a strong inhibition of proliferation, tube formation and migration of cultured endothelial cells. Accordingly, knockdown of FoxP1 in zebrafish was followed by a disruption of intersomitic vascular formation. Using gene expression profiling, we show that FoxP1 induces a specific change of the endothelial transcriptome and functions as a suppressor of semaphorin 5B, which has previously been described as a neuronal inhibitory factor. Our findings now demonstrate that semaphorin 5B also acts as a FoxP1-dependent suppressor of endothelial cell proliferation, migration and sprouting, mediating the effects of FoxP1. In summary, our data indicate that the transcription factor FoxP1 is essential for the angiogenic function of endothelial cells and functions as a suppressor of the inhibitory guidance cue semaphorin 5B, suggesting an important function of FoxP1 in the regulation of neovascularization.</p>
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