VEGFR1 receptor tyrosine kinase localization to the Golgi apparatus is calcium-dependent

Exp Cell Res. 2009 Mar 10;315(5):877-89. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2008.12.020. Epub 2009 Jan 6.


Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) is an essential receptor tyrosine kinase that regulates mammalian vascular development and embryogenesis but its function is not well understood. Herein, we present evidence whereby endothelial VEGFR1 is largely resident within the Golgi apparatus but translocates to the plasma membrane via a calcium-regulated process. Primary human endothelial cells reveal differing VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 intracellular distribution and dynamics. The major proportion of the full-length VEGFR1 membrane protein was resident within the Golgi apparatus in primary endothelial cells. Whereas VEGFR2 displayed down-regulation in response to VEGF-A, VEGFR1 was not significantly affected arguing for a significant intracellular pool that was inaccessible to extracellular VEGF-A. This intracellular VEGFR1 pool showed significant co-distribution with key Golgi residents. Brefeldin A caused VEGFR1 Golgi fragmentation consistent with redistribution to the endoplasmic reticulum. Metabolic labeling experiments and microscopy using domain-specific VEGFR1 antibodies indicated that the mature processed VEGFR1 species and an integral membrane protein was resident within Golgi apparatus. Cytosolic calcium ions play a key role in VEGFR1 trafficking as treatment with either VEGF-A, histamine, thrombin, thapsigargin or A23187 ionophore caused VEGFR1 redistribution from the Golgi apparatus to small punctate vesicles and plasma membrane. We thus propose a model whereby the balance of VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 plasma membrane levels dictate either negative or positive endothelial signaling to influence vascular physiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / pharmacology*
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Estrenes / pharmacology
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Transport / drug effects
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Pyrroles / pharmacology
  • Pyrrolidinones / pharmacology
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / pharmacology
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1 / metabolism*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 / metabolism


  • Estrenes
  • Indoles
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrroles
  • Pyrrolidinones
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • 1-(6-((3-methoxyestra-1,3,5(10)-trien-17-yl)amino)hexyl)-1H-pyrrole-2,5-dione
  • Semaxinib
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2
  • Calcium