The role of VEGF receptors in angiogenesis; complex partnerships

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 Mar;63(5):601-15. doi: 10.1007/s00018-005-5426-3.


Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) regulate blood and lymphatic vessel development and homeostasis but also have profound effects on neural cells. VEGFs are predominantly produced by endothelial, hematopoietic and stromal cells in response to hypoxia and upon stimulation with growth factors such as transforming growth factors, interleukins or platelet-derived growth factor. VEGFs bind to three variants of type III receptor tyrosine kinases, VEGF receptor 1, 2 and 3. Each VEGF isoform binds to a particular subset of these receptors giving rise to the formation of receptor homo- and heterodimers that activate discrete signaling pathways. Signal specificity of VEGF receptors is further modulated upon recruitment of coreceptors, such as neuropilins, heparan sulfate, integrins or cadherins. Here we summarize the knowledge accumulated since the discovery of these proteins more than 20 years ago with the emphasis on the signaling pathways activated by VEGF receptors in endothelial cells during cell migration, growth and differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism


  • Cadherins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor