Tipping off endothelial tubes: nitric oxide drives tip cells
The migration and proliferation of endothelial cells affect the process of angiogenesis or the formation of blood vessels. Endothelial cells interact with each other to form ring-like structures in monolayers and tubular structures in matrigels. However, the transit phase between the individual endothelial cells and fully formed tubular structures is yet to be established. Guided by imaging, Western blot analysis, drug perturbation studies and siRNA studies we validate that endothelial ring structures are the fundamental and monomeric units of capillary tubes and nitric oxide is implicated in their fabrication. Giving input from experimental data, we used bagging classifier and information-gain to determine some of the physical and chemical parameters that define these biological structures. Further, we elucidated the implications of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and the NO/sGC/cGMP pathway in the formation of endothelial rings. We conclude that, formation of endothelial ring structure is important for angiogenesis and is mediated by the NO/sGC/cGMP pathway; and further endothelial rings can be used as in vitro models to study angiogenesis.