Vascular endothelial growth factor-D (VEGF-D), the most recently discovered mammalian member of the VEGF family, is an angiogenic protein that activates VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2/Flk1/KDR) and VEGFR-3 (Flt4). These receptor tyrosine kinases, localized on vascular and lymphatic endothelial cells, signal for angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. VEGF-D consists of a central receptor-binding VEGF homology domain (VHD) and N-terminal and C-terminal propeptides that are cleaved from the VHD to generate a mature, bioactive form consisting of dimers of the VHD. Here we report characterization of mAbs raised to the VHD of human VEGF-D in order to generate VEGF-D antagonists. The mAbs bind the fully processed VHD with high affinity and also bind unprocessed VEGF-D. We demonstrate, using bioassays for the binding and cross-linking of VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3 and biosensor analysis with immobilized receptors, that one of the mAbs, designated VD1, is able to compete potently with mature VEGF-D for binding to both VEGFR-2 and VEGFR-3 for binding to mature VEGF-D. This indicates that the binding epitopes on VEGF-D for these two receptors may be in close proximity. Furthermore, VD1 blocks the mitogenic response of human microvascular endothelial cells to VEGF-D. The anti-(VEGF-D) mAbs raised to the bioactive region of this growth factor will be powerful tools for analysis of the biological functions of VEGF-D.
2000. Vol. 267, no 9