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Cancer Res. 2004 Feb 1;64(3):1008-15.

Semaphorin-3F is an inhibitor of tumor angiogenesis.

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Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel.


The neuropilin-1 (np1) and neuropilin-2 (np2) receptors form complexes with type-A plexins. These complexes serve as signaling receptors for specific class-3 semaphorins. Np1 and np2 function in addition as receptors for heparin-binding forms of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), such as VEGF(165). Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) express tyrosine-kinase receptors for VEGF and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), as well as np1, np2, and several type-A plexins. We have found that semaphorin-3F (s3f), a semaphorin which signals through the np2 receptor, was able to inhibit VEGF(165), as well as bFGF-induced proliferation of HUVECs. Furthermore, s3f inhibited VEGF as well as bFGF-induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2. Our experiments indicate that bFGF does not bind to neuropilins, nor does s3f inhibit the binding of bFGF to FGF receptors. It is therefore possible that s3f inhibits the activity of bFGF by a mechanism that requires active s3f signal transduction rather than by inhibition of bFGF binding to FGF receptors. s3f also inhibited VEGF(165), as well as bFGF-induced in vivo angiogenesis as determined by the alginate micro-encapsulation and Matrigel plug assays. Overexpression of s3f in tumorigenic human HEK293 cells inhibited their tumor-forming ability but not their proliferation in cell culture. The tumors that did develop from s3f-expressing HEK293 cells developed at a much slower rate and had a significantly lower concentration of tumor-associated blood vessels, indicating that s3f is an inhibitor of tumor angiogenesis.

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