Angiogenesis is an essential biological process not only in embryogenesis but also in the progression of a variety of major diseases such as cancer, diabetes and inflammation. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family and its receptor system has been shown to be the fundamental regulator in the cell signaling of angiogenesis. Other systems, Angiopoietin-Tie and EphrinB2-Eph4B etc. are also involved in and cooperate with VEGF system to establish the dynamic blood vessel structures. VEGF receptor belongs to PDGF receptor super-gene family, and carries seven Ig-domains in the extracellular region and a tyrosine kinase domain in the intracellular region. Three members of VEGF receptor family, Flt-1, KDR/Flk-1 and Flt-4, have unique characteristics in terms of the signal transduction, and regulate angiogenesis, lymphangiongenesis and vascular permeability. Further studies on VEGF-VEGF receptor system may significantly facilitate our understanding on the physiological as well as pathological vascular systems in the body and the development of new strategies to control and suppress the major diseases in humans.
2001 by Japan Society for Cell Biology