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Oncogene. 1999 Dec 20;18(55):7917-32.

Growth factor signaling pathways in vascular development.

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  • 1Division of Basic Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


Recent research on the formation and maintenance of the vasculature in the embryo and in the adult has provided a greater understanding of the cellular signals involved in these processes. With this understanding comes the potential means of controlling vascularization in pathological situations such as tumorigenesis and wounding. For the purpose of this review, we will discuss the key receptor tyrosine kinases involved in vascular function and the molecules which relay signals downstream of receptor activation. The receptor tyrosine kinases discussed include the vascular endothelial cell growth factor receptors, Eph receptors, Tie1, and Tie2, all of which are expressed on vascular endothelial cells. We also discuss the roles of the platelet derived growth factor receptors which are expressed on vascular smooth muscle cells. While all of these receptor tyrosine kinases activate many similar effector molecules, some of the signals initiated appear to be distinct. This may explain, at least in part, how different receptor tyrosine kinases expressed in overlapping patterns on the developing vasculature, direct unique biological functions.

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