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Sci. STKE, 11 December 2001
Vol. 2001, Issue 112, p. re21
VEGF Receptor Signal Transduction
Taro Matsumoto and
Department of Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Rudbeck Laboratory, Dag Hammarskjöldsv. 20, 751 85 Uppsala, Sweden.
Gloss: Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) constitute an expanding family of growth factors that have received considerable attention from the basic research community but also from clinically active scientists and pharmaceutical companies. The reason for the interest in this growth factor family is its pivotal role in formation of the vascular tree during embryogenesis, as well as in formation of new vessels from preexisting ones, a process called angiogenesis. Normally, angiogenesis is tightly regulated, but in diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and chronic inflammatory diseases, excess VEGF is produced, leading to hyperstimulated and dysfunctional vessels. VEGF proteins bind to cell surface-expressed receptor molecules, denoted VEGF receptor-1, -2, and -3. VEGF receptor-1 and -2 are expressed on endothelial cells in blood vessels, whereas VEGF receptor-3 is expressed on cells in lymphatic vessels. Inactivation of certain of the genes encoding the VEGF proteins or the VEGF receptors is incompatible with normal vascular development. This review outlines the current knowledge about the role of the VEGF proteins and VEGF receptors in the formation of new blood vessels.