Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), also known as vascular permeability factor (VPF) or vasculotropin, is a homodimeric 34 - 42 kDa, heparin-binding glycoprotein with potent angiogenic, mitogenic and vascular permeability-enhancing activities specific for endothelial cells. The amino acid sequence of VEGF exhibits primary structural, as well as limited amino acid sequence, homology with that of the A and B chains of PDGF. All eight cysteine residues involved in intra- and inter-chain disulfide bonds are conserved among these growth factors. A cDNA encoding a protein having a 53% amino acid sequence homology in the PDGF-like region of VEGF has been isolated from a human placental cDNA library. This protein, named placenta growth factor (PlGF), is now recognized to be a member of the VEGF family of growth factors. Based on its homology with VEGF, PlGF was also proposed to be an angiogenic factor. Two receptor tyrosine kinases have been described as putative VEGF receptors. Flt-1 (fms-like tyrosine kinase), and KDR (kinase-insert-domain-containing receptor) proteins have been shown to bind VEGF with high affinity.
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