RASA1: variable phenotype with capillary and arteriovenous malformations

Laurence M Boon, John B Mulliken, Miikka Vikkula
Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 2005, 15 (3): 265-9
Capillary malformation-arteriovenous malformation (CM-AVM) is a newly discovered hereditary disorder. Its defining features are atypical cutaneous multifocal capillary malformations often in association with high-flow lesions: cutaneous, subcutaneous, intramuscular, intraosseous and cerebral arteriovenous malformations and arteriovenous fistulas. Some patients have Parkes Weber syndrome - a large congenital cutaneous vascular stain in an extremity, with bony and soft tissue hypertrophy and microscopic arteriovenous shunting. In the past, arteriovenous malformations and arteriovenous fistulas had been considered non-hereditary. A classical genetic approach was used to identify the locus. Candidate gene screening pinpointed mutations in RASA1 (p120-RASGAP) - a RasGTPase. RASA1 reverts active GTP-bound Ras into inactive GDP-bound form. Murine Rasa1 knockout and tetraploid-aggregated embryos with RNA interference exhibited abnormal vascular development. Lack of RASA1 activity caused inhibition of cell motility, possibly through p190-RhoGAP. Thus, RASA1 defects probably cause abnormal angiogenic remodeling of the primary capillary plexus that cannot be compensated for by other RasGAPs: RASA2, RASAL and NF1. Signaling pathways involving RASA1 might offer novel targets for treatment of high-flow vascular anomalies.

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