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J Biol Chem. 1995 Jun 23;270(25):15059-65.

Platelet factor-4 inhibits the mitogenic activity of VEGF121 and VEGF165 using several concurrent mechanisms.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa.


The 121-amino acid form of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF121) and the 165-amino acid form (VEGF165) are mitogenic for vascular endothelial cells and induce angiogenesis in vivo. VEGF165 possesses a heparin binding ability and in the absence of heparin-like molecules does not bind efficiently to the VEGF receptors of vascular endothelial cells. The binding of 125I-VEGF165 to the VEGF receptors of endothelial cells, and the heparin-dependent binding of 125I-VEGF165 to a soluble extracellular domain of the VEGF receptor KDR/flk-1, were inhibited by the angiogenesis inhibitor platelet factor-4 (PF4). In contrast, PF4 was not able to inhibit the binding of VEGF121, a VEGF isoform which lacks a heparin binding capacity, to the VEGF receptors of the cells or to KDR/flk-1. These results indicate that PF4 may inhibit VEGF165 binding to VEGF receptors by disrupting the interaction of VEGF165 with cell surface heparan sulfates. Since PF4 mutants lacking a heparin binding ability retain their anti-angiogenic activity, alternative inhibitory mechanisms were also examined. 125I-PF4 bound with high affinity (Kd 5 x 10(-9) M) to VEGF165-coated wells. The binding of 125I-PF4 to the VEGF165-coated wells was inhibited by several types of heparin binding proteins, including unlabeled PF4 and unlabeled VEGF165. The binding was not inhibited by proteins which lack a heparin binding capacity, nor was it inhibited by VEGF121. Heparinase did not inhibit the binding of 125I-PF4 to VEGF165, indicating that heparin-like molecules are not required. These experiments suggest that PF4 can bind to heparin binding proteins such as VEGF165 leading to an inhibition of their receptor binding ability. In agreement with these results, we have observed that PF4 inhibits efficiently the VEGF165 induced proliferation of vascular endothelial cells. Unexpectedly, PF4 also inhibited efficiently the VEGF121-induced proliferation of the cells, indicating that PF4 can disrupt VEGF receptor mediated signal transduction using an unknown mechanism which does not interfere with VEGF121 binding.

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