Evolutionary analysis of human vascular endothelial growth factor, angiopoietin, and tyrosine endothelial kinase involved in angiogenesis and immunity
Anton Dormer and Gregory Beck*
Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts at Boston, Boston, MA 02125-3393, USA
Human vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), angiopoietin (ANG) and tyrosine kinase with immunoglobulin and epidermal growth factor homology domains (TIE)-2 consist of a grouping of proteins that are involved in vascular homeostasis, vascular integrity and angiogenesis. There are nine proteins in the immediate VEGF family: VEGFA, VEGFB, VEGFC, VEGFD, VEGF-3, placental growth factor (PGF), VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-1, VEGFR-2, and VEGFR-1-related. They can be stimulated by cytokines to become involved in immune responses. By using in silico tools, we were able to identify several possible analogues or homologues of VEGF, ANG and TIE-2 in invertebrates. This is the first report to show that these proteins may be conserved through evolution. These proteins may have a role in vascular maintenance and immunity. In addition, since VEGF, ANG and TIE-2 have a role in mammalian immunity that is significantly influenced by cytokines, such as IL-1, this may indicate an interaction of the vascular system and the immune system over evolutionary time.