Molecular Diversity

, 10:515 | Cite as

Molecular and functional diversity of vascular endothelial growth factors



Members of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family are crucial regulators of neovascularization and are classified as cystine knot growth factors that specifically bind cellular receptor tyrosine kinases VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, and VEGFR-3 with high but variable affinity and selectivity. The VEGF family has recently been expanded and currently comprises seven members: VEGF-A, VEGF-B, placenta growth factor (PlGF), VEGF-C, VEGF-D, viral VEGF (also known as VEGF-E), and snake venom VEGF (also known as VEGF-F). Although all members are structurally homologous, there is molecular diversity among the subtypes, and several isoforms, such as VEGF-A, VEGF-B, and PlGF, are generated by alternative exon splicing. These splicing isoforms exhibit differing properties, particularly in binding to co-receptor neuropilins and heparin. VEGF family proteins play multiple physiological roles, such as angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis, while exogenous members (viral and snake venom VEGFs) display activities that are unique in physiology and function. This review will highlight the molecular and functional diversity of VEGF family proteins.


angiogenesis biological property endothelial cell proliferation lymphangiogenesis molecular diversity receptor selectivity receptor binding affinity vascular endothelial growth factor vascular permeability 



hypotensive factor


hypoxia-inducible factor


increasing capillary permeability protein




placenta growth factor


receptor tyrosine kinase


snake venom vascular endothelial growth factor


vascular endothelial growth factor


VEGF receptor


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© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryMeiji Pharmaceutical UniversityKiyoseJapan

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