Because of its central role in pathological angiogenesis, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has become a major target for anti-angiogenic therapies. We report here the construction of a heterodimeric antagonistic VEGF variant (HD-VEGF). In this antagonist, binding domains for the VEGF-receptors KDR/Flk-1 and Flt-1 are present at one pole of the dimer, whereas the other pole carries domain swap mutations, which prevent binding to either receptor. As HD-VEGF can only bind to monomeric receptors, it does not lead to signal transduction. Moreover, it antagonizes VEGF and possibly other members of the VEGF family, which are KDR/Flk-1 and Flt-1 ligands. We show here that HD-VEGF is a potent inhibitor of VEGF-mediated proliferation and tissue factor induction in endothelial cell cultures, requiring only a 20-fold and a 4-fold excess, respectively, to block the activity of wtVEGF completely. A 4-fold excess of HD-VEGF over wtVEGF was also sufficient to abrogate vascular permeability as determined in the Miles assay in vivo. Furthermore, HD-VEGF inhibited fetal bone angiogenesis in an ex vivo assay. Thus, HD-VEGF blocks KDR- and Flt-1-mediated VEGF activities that are crucial in the angiogenic process and is therefore a promising, multipotent compound in the treatment of angiogenesis-related diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology