Proteolytic Cleavages in the VEGF Family: Generating Diversity among Angiogenic VEGFs, Essential for the Activation of Lymphangiogenic VEGFs

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Künnapuu, J.; Bokharaie, H.; Jeltsch, M. Proteolytic Cleavages in the VEGF Family: Generating Diversity among Angiogenic VEGFs, Essential for the Activation of Lymphangiogenic VEGFs. Biology 2021, 10, 167.

Title: Proteolytic Cleavages in the VEGF Family: Generating Diversity among Angiogenic VEGFs, Essential for the Activation of Lymphangiogenic VEGFs
Author: Künnapuu, Jaana; Bokharaie, Honey; Jeltsch, Michael
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
Date: 2021-02-23
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/327164
Abstract: Specific proteolytic cleavages turn on, modify, or turn off the activity of vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs). Proteolysis is most prominent among the lymph­angiogenic VEGF-C and VEGF-D, which are synthesized as precursors that need to undergo enzymatic removal of their C- and N-terminal propeptides before they can activate their receptors. At least five different proteases mediate the activating cleavage of VEGF-C: plasmin, ADAMTS3, prostate-specific antigen, cathepsin D, and thrombin. All of these proteases except for ADAMTS3 can also activate VEGF-D. Processing by different proteases results in distinct forms of the “mature” growth factors, which differ in affinity and receptor activation potential. The “default” VEGF-C-activating enzyme ADAMTS3 does not activate VEGF-D, and therefore, VEGF-C and VEGF-D do function in different contexts. VEGF-C itself is also regulated in different contexts by distinct proteases. During embryonic development, ADAMTS3 activates VEGF-C. The other activating proteases are likely important for non-developmental lymphangiogenesis during, e.g., tissue regeneration, inflammation, immune response, and pathological tumor-associated lymphangiogenesis. The better we understand these events at the molecular level, the greater our chances of developing successful therapies targeting VEGF-C and VEGF-D for diseases involving the lymphatics such as lymphedema or cancer.


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