Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/VEGF-C mosaic molecules reveal specificity determinants and feature novel receptor binding patterns

Michael Jeltsch, Terhi Karpanen, Tomas Strandin, Kukka Aho, Hilkka Lankinen, Kari Alitalo
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2006 April 28, 281 (17): 12187-95
Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) and their receptors play key roles in angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. VEGF activates VEGF receptor-1 (VEGFR-1) and VEGFR-2, whereas VEGF-C activates VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3. We have created a library of VEGF/VEGF-C mosaic molecules that contains factors with novel receptor binding profiles, notably proteins binding to all three VEGF receptors ("super-VEGFs"). The analyzed super-VEGFs show both angiogenic and lymphangiogenic effects in vivo, although weaker than the parental molecules. The composition of the VEGFR-3 binding molecules and scanning mutagenesis revealed determinants of receptor binding and specificity. VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3 showed striking differences in their requirements for VEGF-C binding; extracellular domain 2 of VEGFR-2 was sufficient, whereas in VEGFR-3, both domains 1 and 2 were necessary.

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