We have identified a member of the VEGF family by computer-based homology searching and have designated it VEGF-D. VEGF-D is most closely related to VEGF-C by virtue of the presence of N- and C-terminal extensions that are not found in other VEGF family members. In adult human tissues, VEGF-D mRNA is most abundant in heart, lung, skeletal muscle, colon, and small intestine. Analyses of VEGF-D receptor specificity revealed that VEGF-D is a ligand for both VEGF receptors (VEGFRs) VEGFR-2 (Flk1) and VEGFR-3 (Flt4) and can activate these receptors. However. VEGF-D does not bind to VEGFR-1. Expression of a truncated derivative of VEGF-D demonstrated that the receptor-binding capacities reside in the portion of the molecule that is most closely related in primary structure to other VEGF family members and that corresponds to the mature form of VEGF-C. In addition, VEGF-D is a mitogen for endothelial cells. The structural and functional similarities between VEGF-D and VEGF-C define a subfamily of the VEGFs.
1998. Vol. 95, no 2