VEGF was initially purified from media conditioned by normal bovine pituitary folliculo-stellate cells and by a variety of transformed cell lines as a mitogen specific for vascular endothelial cells. It was subsequently found to be identical to an independently discovered vascular permeability factor (VPF), which was previously identified in media conditioned by tumor cell lines based on its ability to increase the permeability of capillary blood vessels. Three mouse cDNA clones, which arise through alternative splicing and which encode mature mouse monomeric VEGF having 120, 164, or 188, amino acids, respectively, have been identified. Two receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), Flt-1 and Flk-1 (the mouse homologue of human KDR), both members of the type III subclass of RTKs containing seven immunoglobulin-like repeats in their extracellular domains, have been shown to bind VEGF with high affinity. The roles of the homodimers of KDR, Flt, and the heterodimer ofKDR/Flt in VEGF signal transduction remain to be elucidated.In vivo, VEGF has been found to be a potent angiogenesis inducer.
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