Annexin A3 (Anxa3) is a member of the calcium-regulated, cell membrane-binding family of annexin proteins. We previously confirmed that Anxa3 is expressed in the endothelial lineage in vertebrates and that loss of anxa3 in Xenopus laevis leads to embryonic blood vessel defects. However, the biological function of Anxa3 in mammals is completely unknown. In order to investigate Anxa3 vascular function in mammals, we generated an endothelial cell-specific Anxa3 conditional knockout mouse model (Anxa3f/f ;Tie2-Cre). Anxa3f/f ;Tie2-Cre mice are born at Mendelian ratios and display morphologically normal blood vessels during development. However, loss of Anxa3 leads to artery-vein (AV) misalignment characterized by atypical AV crossovers in the postnatal and adult retina. Anxa3 is not essential for embryonic blood vessel formation but is required for proper parallel AV alignment in the murine retina. AV crossovers associated with Anxa3f/f ;Tie2-Cre mice are similar to AV intersections observed in patients with branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO), although we did not observe occluded vessels. This new Anxa3 mouse model may provide a basis for understanding AV crossover formation associated with BRVO.
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