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Blood. 2008 Apr 1;111(7):3479-88. doi: 10.1182/blood-2007-03-077537. Epub 2008 Jan 9.

A proangiogenic peptide derived from vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 acts through alpha5beta1 integrin.

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  • 1Department of Biochemical Sciences A. Rossi Fanelli, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 (VEGFR-1) is a tyrosine kinase receptor for growth factors of the VEGF family. Endothelial cells express a membrane-bound and a soluble variant of this protein, the latter being mainly considered as a negative regulator of VEGF-A signaling. We previously reported that the soluble form is deposited in the extracellular matrix produced by endothelial cells in culture and is able to promote cell adhesion and migration through binding to alpha5beta1 integrin. In this study, we demonstrate that the Ig-like domain II of VEGFR-1, which contains the binding determinants for the growth factors, is involved in the interaction with alpha5beta1 integrin. To identify domain regions involved in integrin binding, we designed 12 peptides putatively mimicking the domain II surface and tested their ability to inhibit alpha5beta1-mediated endothelial cell adhesion to soluble VEGFR-1 and directly support cell adhesion. One peptide endowed with both these properties was identified and shown to inhibit endothelial cell migration toward soluble VEGFR-1 as well. This peptide directly binds alpha5beta1 integrin, but not VEGF-A, inducing endothelial cell tubule formation in vitro and neoangiogenesis in vivo. Alanine scanning mutagenesis of the peptide defined which residues were responsible for its biologic activity and integrin binding.

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