Cardiovascular growth must balance stabilizing signals required to maintain endothelial connections and network integrity with destabilizing signals that enable individual endothelial cells to migrate and proliferate. The cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) signaling pathway utilizes the adaptor protein CCM2 to strengthen endothelial cell junctions and stabilize vessels. Here we identify a CCM2 paralog, CCM2L, that is expressed selectively in endothelial cells during periods of active cardiovascular growth. CCM2L competitively blocks CCM2-mediated stabilizing signals biochemically, in cultured endothelial cells, and in developing mice. Loss of CCM2L reduces endocardial growth factor expression and impairs tumor growth and wound healing. Our studies identify CCM2L as a molecular mechanism by which endothelial cells coordinately regulate vessel stability and growth duringcardiovascular development, as well as postnatal vessel growth.
Dev cell 23 (2): 342-355 (2012).