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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Nov 12;324(2):909-15.

Heterodimerization with vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) is necessary for VEGFR-3 activity.

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Sanofi-Synthélabo Research, Cardiovascular Department, Toulouse, France.


VEGFR-3 is essential for vascular development and maintenance of lymphatic vessel's integrity. Little is known about its cooperative effect with other receptors of the same family. Contrary to VEGFR-2, stimulation of VEGFR-3 by VEGF-C and -D failed to enhance its phosphorylation either in HEK293T or in PAE cells. These ligands were unable to induce angiogenesis of PAEC expressing VEGFR-3 alone. In the presence of VEGFR-2, VEGF-C and -D induced heterodimerization of VEGFR-3 with VEGFR-2. This heterodimerization was associated with enhanced VEGFR-3 phosphorylation and subsequent cellular responses as evidenced by the formation of capillary-like structures in PAE cells and proliferation of primary human endothelial cells expressing both receptors. Taken together, these results show for the first time that VEGFR-3 needs to be associated to VEGFR-2 to induce ligand-dependent cellular responses.

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