Role of the Flt-1 receptor tyrosine kinase in regulating the assembly of vascular endothelium

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Abstract

THE vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its high-affinity binding receptors, the tyrosine kinases Flt-1 and Flk-1, are thought to be important for the development of embryonic vasculature1–8. Here we report that Flt-1 is essential for the organization of embryonic vasculature, but is not essential for endothelial cell differentiation. Mouse embryos homozygous for a targeted mutation in the flt-1 locus, flt-llcz formed endothelial cells in both embryonic and extra-embryonic regions, but assembled these cells into abnormal vascular channels and died in utero at mid-somite stages. At earlier stages, the blood islands of flt-llcz homozygotes were abnormal, with angioblasts in the interior as well as on the periphery. We suggest that the Flt-1 signalling pathway may regulate normal endothelial cell-cell or cell-matrix interactions during vascular development.

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