Biosynthesis of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-D Involves Proteolytic Processing Which Generates Non-covalent Homodimers Academic Article uri icon


  • Vascular endothelial growth factor-D (VEGF-D) binds and activates the endothelial cell tyrosine kinase receptors VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) and VEGF receptor-3 (VEGFR-3), is mitogenic for endothelial cells, and shares structural homology and receptor specificity with VEGF-C. The primary translation product of VEGF-D has long N- and C-terminal polypeptide extensions in addition to a central VEGF homology domain (VHD). The VHD of VEGF-D is sufficient to bind and activate VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3. Here we report that VEGF-D is proteolytically processed to release the VHD. Studies in 293EBNA cells demonstrated that VEGF-D undergoes N- and C-terminal cleavage events to produce numerous secreted polypeptides including a fully processed form of M(r) approximately 21,000 consisting only of the VHD, which is predominantly a non-covalent dimer. Biosensor analysis demonstrated that the VHD has approximately 290- and approximately 40-fold greater affinity for VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3, respectively, compared with unprocessed VEGF-D. In situ hybridization demonstrated that embryonic lung is a major site of expression of the VEGF-D gene. Processed forms of VEGF-D were detected in embryonic lung indicating that VEGF-D is proteolytically processed in vivo.


  • Stacker, Steven A
  • Stenvers, Kaye
  • Caesar, Carol
  • Vitali, Angela
  • Domagala, Teresa
  • Nice, Edouard
  • Roufail, Sally
  • Simpson, Richard J
  • Moritz, Robert
  • Karpanen, Terhi
  • Alitalo, Kari
  • Achen, Marc G

publication date

  • November 5, 1999

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