Science Signaling Podcast: 2 July 2013

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Sci. Signal.  02 Jul 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 282, pp. pc16
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004435

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This Podcast features an interview with Kari Alitalo, author of a Research Article that appears in the 2 July 2013 issue of Science Signaling, on how two related growth factors trigger distinct biological outcomes despite binding to the same receptor. Ligands of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family modulate the development and growth of blood and lymphatic vessels. Although the related VEGF ligands VEGF-B and placental growth factor (PlGF) both exert their biological activities by binding to VEGF receptor 1 (VEGFR-1), PlGF robustly induces angiogenesis, whereas VEGF-B triggers angiogenesis only weakly. Through domain swapping experiments, Anisimov et al. determined that the angiogenic activity of PlGF was conferred by a domain in PlGF that interacted with VEGFR-1, whereas the corresponding domain in VEGF-B did not. These results shed light on the mechanism of receptor activation by VEGF ligands and may help in designing chimeric proteins that could be used therapeutically to promote or inhibit angiogenesis.

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