Ras activation in Hirudo medicinalis angiogenic process
Keywords:leech, Ras, cytoskeleton, angiogenesis
In some leeches like Hirudo medicinalis, any kind of stimulation (surgical wound or growth factor injection) provokes the botryoidal tissue response. This peculiar tissue, localized in the loose connective tissue between gut and body wall, is formed by granular botryoidal cells and flattened endothelial-like cells. Under stimulation, the botryoidal tissue changes its shape to form new capillaries. In mammals, the molecular regulation of the angiogenic phenotype requires coordinated input from a number of signalling molecules: among them the GTPase Ras is one of the major actor. In our current study, we determine whether Ras activation alone would be sufficient to drive vessels formation from leech botryoidal tissue. Our findings indicate that assembly and disassembly of actin filaments regulated by Ras protein is involved in morphological modification of botryoidal tissue cells during leech angiogenic process.