Angiopoietin-2 is required for postnatal angiogenesis and lymphatic patterning, and only the latter role is rescued by Angiopoietin-1.
VEGF and Angiopoietin-1 requisitely collaborate during blood vessel development. While Angiopoietin-1 obligately activates its Tie2 receptor, Angiopoietin-2 can activate Tie2 on some cells, while it blocks Tie2 activation on others. Our analysis of mice lacking Angiopoietin-2 reveals that Angiopoietin-2 is dispensable for embryonic vascular development but is requisite for subsequent angiogenic remodeling. Unexpectedly, mice lacking Angiopoietin-2 also exhibit major lymphatic vessel defects. Genetic rescue with Angiopoietin-1 corrects the lymphatic, but not the angiogenesis, defects, suggesting that Angiopoietin-2 acts as a Tie2 agonist in the former setting, but as an antagonist in the latter setting. Our studies define a vascular growth factor whose primary role is in postnatal angiogenic remodeling and also demonstrate that members of the VEGF and Angiopoietin families collaborate during development of the lymphatic vasculature.