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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jan 25;102(4):1076-81. Epub 2005 Jan 11.

Essential role of Flk-1 (VEGF receptor 2) tyrosine residue 1173 in vasculogenesis in mice.

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  • 1Divisions of Genetics and Gene Expression and Regulation, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokane-dai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


Flk-1 (human counterpart, KDR) tyrosine kinase, which is one of the two VEGF receptors, is crucial for vascular development. Recently, we showed that, among tyrosine residues of KDR, tyrosine residues 1175 (Y1175, corresponding to Y1173 in murine Flk-1) and Y1214 (Y1212 in Flk-1) are autophosphorylated in response to VEGF, and that Y1175 is important for VEGF-dependent phospholipase Cgamma/PKC/mitogen-activated protein kinase activation leading to DNA synthesis in cultured endothelial cells. However, the importance of these tyrosine residues in Flk-1/KDR in vivo is not yet known. To examine the role of these Flk-1 tyrosine residues in vivo, we generated knock-in mice substituting Y1173 and Y1212 of the Flk-1 gene with phenylalanine, respectively. As a result, Flk-1(1173F) homozygous mice died between embryonic days 8.5 and 9.5 without any organized blood vessels or yolk sac blood islands, and hematopoietic progenitors were severely reduced, similar to the case of Flk-1 null mice. In contrast, Flk-1(1212F) homozygous mice were viable and fertile. These results suggest that the signaling via Y1173 of Flk-1 is essential for endothelial and hematopoietic development during embryogenesis.

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