VEGF-A induces its negative regulator, soluble form of VEGFR-1, by modulating its alternative splicing

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Abstract

Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) is one of the major angiogenic factors, and its actions are primarily mediated through its two membrane receptors, VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2. A soluble form of VEGFR-1 (sVEGFR-1) sequesters the free form of VEGF-A, and acts as a potent anti-angiogenic factor. While sVEGFR-1 is synthesized as a splice variant of VEGF-R1 gene, the interactions between VEGF-A and sVEGFR-1 remain largely unknown. Here, we show that VEGF-A upregulates sVEGF-R1 expression in human vascular endothelial cells but leaves full-length VEGF-R1 expression unchanged, and that this induction was dependent on the VEGFR-2-protein kinase C-MEK signaling pathway. The VEGF-A-induced sVEGFR-1 upregulation can operate as a negative feedback system, which if modulated can become a novel therapeutic target for regulating pathological angiogenesis.

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