Integrin and Growth Factor Receptor Alliance in Angiogenesis
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A sequence of events in vascular and stromal cells maintained in a highly coordinated manner regulates angiogenesis and tissue remodeling. These processes are mediated by the ability of cells to respond to environmental cues and activate surface integrins. Physiological and pathological processes in vascular biology are dependent on the specificity of important signaling mechanisms that are activated through the association between growth factors, their receptors, integrins, and their specific extracellular matrix ligands. A large body of evidence from in vitro and in vivo models demonstrates the importance of coordination of signals from the extracellular environment that activates specific tyrosine kinase receptors and integrins in order to regulate angiogenic processes in vivo. In addition to complex formation between growth factor receptors and integrins, growth factors and cytokines also directly interact with integrins, depending upon their concentration levels in the environment, and differentially regulate integrin-related processes. Recent studies from a number of laboratories including ours have provided important novel insights into the involvement of many signaling events that improve our existing knowledge on the cross-talk between growth factor receptors and integrins in the regulation of angiogenesis. In this review, our focus will be on updating the recent developments in the field of integrin-growth factor receptor associations and their implications in the vascular processes.