Positive and negative regulation of angiogenesis by soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1

Cristina M. Failla, Miriam Carbo, Veronica Morea

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-1 exists in different forms, derived from alternative splicing of the same gene. In addition to the transmembrane form, endothelial cells produce a soluble VEGFR-1 (sVEGFR-1) isoform, whereas non-endothelial cells produce both sVEGFR-1 and a different soluble molecule, known as soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase (sFlt)1-14. By binding members of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family, the soluble forms reduce the amounts of VEGFs available for the interaction with their transmembrane receptors, thereby negatively regulating VEGFR-mediated signaling. In agreement with this activity, high levels of circulating sVEGFR-1 or sFlt1-14 are associated with different pathological conditions involving vascular dysfunction. Moreover, sVEGFR-1 and sFlt1-14 have an additional role in angiogenesis: they are deposited in the endothelial cell and pericyte extracellular matrix, and interact with cell membrane components. Interaction of sVEGFR-1 with α5β1 integrin on endothelial cell membranes regulates vessel growth, triggering a dynamic, pro-angiogenic phenotype. Interaction of sVEGFR-1/sFlt1-14 with cell membrane glycosphingolipids in lipid rafts controls kidney cell morphology and glomerular barrier functions. These cell-matrix contacts represent attractive novel targets for pharmacological intervention in addition to those addressing interactions between VEGFs and their receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1306
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2018


  • Angiogenesis
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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