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      The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family: angiogenic factors in health and disease

      1 , 2 , , 1

      Genome Biology

      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) are a family of polypeptides with a highly conserved structure. In mammals, VEGFs have roles in vascular development, development of lymphatic vessels and disease-related angiogenesis.The existence of VEGF-like molecules and their receptors in simple invertebrates without a vascular system indicates that this family of growth factors emerged at a very early stage in the evolution of multicellular organisms to mediate primordial developmental functions.

          Abstract

          Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) are a family of secreted polypeptides with a highly conserved receptor-binding cystine-knot structure similar to that of the platelet-derived growth factors. VEGF-A, the founding member of the family, is highly conserved between animals as evolutionarily distant as fish and mammals. In vertebrates, VEGFs act through a family of cognate receptor kinases in endothelial cells to stimulate blood-vessel formation. VEGF-A has important roles in mammalian vascular development and in diseases involving abnormal growth of blood vessels; other VEGFs are also involved in the development of lymphatic vessels and disease-related angiogenesis. Invertebrate homologs of VEGFs and VEGF receptors have been identified in fly, nematode and jellyfish, where they function in developmental cell migration and neurogenesis. The existence of VEGF-like molecules and their receptors in simple invertebrates without a vascular system indicates that this family of growth factors emerged at a very early stage in the evolution of multicellular organisms to mediate primordial developmental functions.

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          Most cited references 43

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          Vascular endothelial growth factor is a secreted angiogenic mitogen.

          Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was purified from media conditioned by bovine pituitary folliculostellate cells (FC). VEGF is a heparin-binding growth factor specific for vascular endothelial cells that is able to induce angiogenesis in vivo. Complementary DNA clones for bovine and human VEGF were isolated from cDNA libraries prepared from FC and HL60 leukemia cells, respectively. These cDNAs encode hydrophilic proteins with sequences related to those of the A and B chains of platelet-derived growth factor. DNA sequencing suggests the existence of several molecular species of VEGF. VEGFs are secreted proteins, in contrast to other endothelial cell mitogens such as acidic or basic fibroblast growth factors and platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor. Human 293 cells transfected with an expression vector containing a bovine or human VEGF cDNA insert secrete an endothelial cell mitogen that behaves like native VEGF.
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            Role of the Flt-1 receptor tyrosine kinase in regulating the assembly of vascular endothelium.

            The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its high-affinity binding receptors, the tyrosine kinases Flt-1 and Flk-1, are thought to be important for the development of embryonic vasculature. Here we report that Flt-1 is essential for the organization of embryonic vasculature, but is not essential for endothelial cell differentiation. Mouse embryos homozygous for a targeted mutation in the flt-1 locus, flt-1lcz, formed endothelial cells in both embryonic and extra-embryonic regions, but assembled these cells into abnormal vascular channels and died in utero at mid-somite stages. At earlier stages, the blood islands of flt-1lcz homozygotes were abnormal, with angioblasts in the interior as well as on the periphery. We suggest that the Flt-1 signalling pathway may regulate normal endothelial cell-cell or cell-matrix interactions during vascular development.
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              Tumor cells secrete a vascular permeability factor that promotes accumulation of ascites fluid.

              Tumor ascites fluids from guinea pigs, hamsters, and mice contain activity that rapidly increases microvascular permeability. Similar activity is also secreted by these tumor cells and a variety of other tumor cell lines in vitro. The permeability-increasing activity purified from either the culture medium or ascites fluid of one tumor, the guinea pig line 10 hepatocarcinoma, is a 34,000- to 42,000-dalton protein distinct from other known permeability factors.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Genome Biol
                Genome Biology
                BioMed Central (London )
                1465-6906
                1465-6914
                2005
                1 February 2005
                : 6
                : 2
                : 209
                Affiliations
                [1 ]BHF Laboratories and The Rayne Institute, Department of Medicine, University College London, 5 University Street, London WC1E 6JJ, UK
                [2 ]Ark Therapeutics Ltd, 1 Fitzroy Mews, London W1T 6DE, UK
                Article
                gb-2005-6-2-209
                10.1186/gb-2005-6-2-209
                551528
                15693956
                Copyright © 2005 BioMed Central Ltd
                Categories
                Protein Family Review

                Genetics

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