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      Processing of VEGF-A by matrix metalloproteinases regulates bioavailability and vascular patterning in tumors

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          Abstract

          Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a critical mediator of blood vessel formation during development and in pathological conditions. In this study, we demonstrate that VEGF bioavailability is regulated extracellularly by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) through intramolecular processing. Specifically, we show that a subset of MMPs can cleave matrix-bound isoforms of VEGF, releasing soluble fragments. We have mapped the region of MMP processing, have generated recombinant forms that mimic MMP-cleaved and MMP-resistant VEGF, and have explored their biological impact in tumors. Although all forms induced similar VEGF receptor 2 phosphorylation levels, the angiogenic outcomes were distinct. MMP-cleaved VEGF promoted the capillary dilation of existent vessels but mediated a marginal neovascular response within the tumor. In contrast, MMP-resistant VEGF supported extensive growth of thin vessels with multiple and frequent branch points. Our findings support the view that matrix-bound VEGF and nontethered VEGF provide different signaling outcomes. These findings reveal a novel aspect in the regulation of extracellular VEGF that holds significance for vascular patterning.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Vascular permeability factor/vascular endothelial growth factor: a critical cytokine in tumor angiogenesis and a potential target for diagnosis and therapy.

           Harold Dvorak (2002)
          Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), the founding member of the vascular permeability factor (VPF)/VEGF family of proteins, is an important angiogenic cytokine with critical roles in tumor angiogenesis. This article reviews the literature with regard to VEGF-A's multiple functions, the mechanisms by which it induces angiogenesis, and its current and projected roles in clinical oncology. VEGF-A is a multifunctional cytokine that is widely expressed by tumor cells and that acts through receptors (VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, and neuropilin) that are expressed on vascular endothelium and on some other cells. It increases microvascular permeability, induces endothelial cell migration and division, reprograms gene expression, promotes endothelial cell survival, prevents senescence, and induces angiogenesis. Recently, VEGF-A has also been shown to induce lymphangiogenesis. Measurements of circulating levels of VEGF-A may have value in estimating prognosis, and VEGF-A and its receptors are potential targets for therapy. Recognized as the single most important angiogenic cytokine, VEGF-A has a central role in tumor biology and will likely have an important role in future approaches designed to evaluate patient prognosis. It may also become an important target for cancer therapy.
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            The vascular endothelial growth factor family: identification of a fourth molecular species and characterization of alternative splicing of RNA.

             K Houck,  B. Li,  N Ferrara (1991)
            Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was recently identified as a secreted, direct-acting mitogen specific for vascular endothelial cells and capable of stimulating angiogenesis in vivo. Molecular cloning revealed multiple forms of VEGF, apparently arising from alternative splicing of its RNA transcript. We have examined various human cDNA libraries by the polymerase chain reaction technique and discovered a fourth molecular form, VEGF206. This form contains a 41-amino acid insertion relative to the most abundant form, VEGF165, and includes the highly basic 24-amino acid insertion found in VEGF189. Southern blot analysis revealed that a single gene encoded these various forms, and nucleic acid sequence analysis of a portion of the VEGF gene revealed an intron/exon structure compatible with alternative splicing of RNA as a mechanism for their generation. Transient transfection of human embryonic kidney 293 cells showed that, like VEGF189, VEGF206 was predominately cell-associated and only very poorly secreted despite the presence of the signal peptide identical to that found in VEGF121 and VEGF165, both of which are efficiently exported from the cell. Vascular permeability activity was detected in the medium of 293 cells transfected with all four forms of VEGF; however, endothelial cell mitogenic activity was apparent only with VEGF121 and VEGF165. Thus, alternative splicing of VEGF RNA can produce four polypeptides with strikingly different secretion patterns, which suggests multiple physiological roles for this family of proteins.
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              The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoforms: differential deposition into the subepithelial extracellular matrix and bioactivity of extracellular matrix-bound VEGF.

              Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)mRNA undergoes alternative splicing events that generate four different homodimeric isoforms, VEGF121, VEGF165, VEGF189, or VEGF206. VEGF121 is a nonheparin-binding acidic protein, which is freely diffusible. The longer forms, VEGF189 or VEGF206, are highly basic proteins tightly bound to extracellular heparin-containing proteoglycans. VEGF165 has intermediate properties. To determine the localization of VEGF isoforms, transfected human embryonic kidney CEN4 cells expressing VEGF165, VEGF189, or VEGF206 were stained by immunofluorescence with a specific monoclonal antibody. The staining was found in patches and streaks suggestive of extracellular matrix (ECM). VEGF165 was observed largely in Golgi apparatus-like structures. Immunogold labeling of cells expressing VEGF189 or VEGF206 revealed that the staining was localized to the subepithelial ECM. VEGF associated with the ECM was bioactive, because endothelial cells cultured on ECM derived from cells expressing VEGF189 or VEGF206 were markedly stimulated to proliferate. In addition, ECM-bound VEGF can be released into a soluble and bioactive form by heparin or plasmin. ECM-bound VEGF189 and VEGF206 have molecular masses consistent with the intact polypeptides. The ECM may represent an important source of VEGF and angiogenic potential.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Cell Biol
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                0021-9525
                1540-8140
                23 May 2005
                : 169
                : 4
                : 681-691
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology
                [2 ]Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095
                [3 ]Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095
                Author notes

                Correspondence to M. Luisa Iruela-Arispe: arispe@ 123456mbi.ucla.edu

                Article
                200409115
                10.1083/jcb.200409115
                2171712
                15911882
                Copyright © 2005, The Rockefeller University Press
                Categories
                Research Articles
                Article

                Cell biology

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