We found that heparin at low concentrations increases the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced proliferation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) but at high concentrations decreases it. To examine whether FLT-1, a VEGF receptor, interacts with heparin and which domain of FLT-1 binds to heparin, various extracellular domains of FLT-1 were expressed in a baculovirus/insect cell system: sFLT-1(1-7), sFLT-1(1-4), sFLT-1(1-3), and sFLT-1(1-2) containing immunoglobulin (Ig)-like loop one to seven, one to four, one to three, and one to two, respectively. The sFLT-1(1-7) and sFLT-1(1-4) readily bound heparin at the physiological salt concentration and half-dissociated from heparin at 0.65 M and 0.57 M NaCl, respectively. In contrast, the sFLT-1(1-3) and sFLT-1(1-2) poorly bound heparin at the physiological salt concentration. In addition, the interaction of sFLT-1(1-7) with heparin was not affected by EDTA up to 80 mM. We thus concluded that the fourth Ig-like loop of FLT-1 is a major heparin-binding site and divalent cations are not involved in the interaction of FLT-1 and heparin.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.