BMP2 rescues deficient cell migration in Tgfbr3−/− epicardial cells and requires Src kinase
During embryogenesis, the epicardium undergoes proliferation, migration, and differentiation into several cardiac cell types which contribute to the coronary vessels. The type III transforming growth factor-β receptor (TGFβR3) is required for epicardial cell invasion and development of coronary vasculature in vivo. Bone Morphogenic Protein-2 (BMP2) is a driver of epicardial cell migration. Utilizing a primary epicardial cell line derived from Tgfbr3+/+ and Tgfbr3−/− mouse embryos, we show that Tgfbr3−/− epicardial cells are deficient in BMP2 mRNA expression. Tgfbr3−/− epicardial cells are deficient in 2-dimensional migration relative to Tgfbr3+/+ cells; BMP2 induces cellular migration to Tgfbr3+/+ levels without affecting proliferation. We further demonstrate that Src kinase activity is required for BMP2 driven Tgfbr3−/− migration. BMP2 also requires Src for filamentous actin polymerization in Tgfbr3−/− epicardial cells. Taken together, our data identifies a novel pathway in epicardial cell migration required for development of the coronary vessels.