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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jan 14;286(2):1083-92. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.175158. Epub 2010 Nov 11.

Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) induces endothelial and cancer cell migration through direct binding to integrin {alpha}9{beta}1: identification of a specific {alpha}9{beta}1 binding site.

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  • 1Thoracic Disease Research Unit, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Integrin α9β1 mediates accelerated cell adhesion and migration through interactions with a number of diverse extracellular ligands. We have shown previously that it directly binds the vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGF) A, C, and D and contributes to VEGF-induced angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. Until now, the α9β1 binding site in VEGF has not been identified. Here, we report that the three-amino acid sequence, EYP, encoded by exon 3 of VEGF-A is essential for binding of VEGF to integrin α9β1 and induces adhesion and migration of endothelial and cancer cells. EYP is specific for α9β1 binding and neither requires nor activates VEGFR-2, the cognate receptor for VEGF-A. Following binding to EYP, integrin α9β1 transduces cell migration through direct activation of the integrin signaling intermediates Src and focal adhesion kinase. This interaction is biologically important because it mediates in vitro endothelial cell tube formation, wound healing, and cancer cell invasion. These novel findings identify EYP as a potential site for directed pharmacotherapy.

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