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Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor Family in Ascidians, Halocynthia roretzi (Sea Squirt). Its High Expression in Circulatory System-Containing Tissues

Authors
Journal
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
1422-0067
Publisher
MDPI AG
Publication Date
Volume
14
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/ijms14034841
Keywords
  • Article
Disciplines
  • Design

Abstract

The vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-VEGF Receptor (VEGFR) system is an important pathway for regulation of angiogenesis. However, its evolutionary development, particularly the step from invertebrates to vertebrates, is still largely unknown. Here, we molecularly cloned the VEGFR-like gene from Halocynthia roretzi, a species belonging to the Tunicata, the chordate subphylum recently considered the sister group of vertebrates. The cDNA encoded a homolog of human VEGFR, including the transmembrane domain, and the tyrosine kinase domain with a kinase-insert region, which was designated S. sq VEGFR (GenBank AB374180). Similar to Tunicates including ascidians in the phylogenetic tree, the Amphioxus, another chordate, is located close to vertebrates. However, S. sq VEGFR has a higher homology than the Amphioxus VEGFR-like molecule (GenBank AB025557) to human VEGFR in the kinase domain-2 region. The S. sq VEGFR mRNA was expressed at highest levels in circulatory system-containing tissues, suggesting that S. sq VEGFR plays an important role in the formation or maintenance of circulatory system in Tunicates, Halocynthia roretzi.

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