Switch for VEGF-mediated angiogenesis identified


Munster – German and UK researchers have identified the Jagged1 protein as an on-switch for angiogenesis. A binary decision, determining the fate of a stem cell located on the inner wall of veins and arteries to differentiate into a bloodvessel cell, is made when the Jagged1 protein activates the transmembrane receptor protein Notch on neighbouring endothelial cells. In doing so, the ligand acts as a transducer in the Notch Signal Pathway (NSP), making cells succeptible to Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). VEGF then promotes the growth of new blood vessels. If Notch is not activated by Jagged1, VEGF does not have this effect on the stem cell. This is a mechanism which is used to control the process of bifurcation.
NSP regulates cell-cell communication, mediating cellular differentiation and tissue specific development in eukaryotes. Deregulation causes developmental defects in the networking and branching of blood vessels, which can lead to a disrupted flow of oxygen and nutrients to surrounding tissues. The scientists would like to induce vascularisation to counteract defects that can lead to different pathological indications, such as heart attack or cancer.
'For the first time, we now understand how these individual components work together,' commented Professor Ralf Adams of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Germany. 'In experiments on mice, we want to learn how to actively control the growth of blood vessels.' Ultimately, medicines could one day be used to do the same in people, he added.
Since NSP plays an important role in the development, growth and healing of many different types of tissues and organs though, the next step will be to investigate the possible dangers of manipulating Notch.

Germany, FranceGermany


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Monheim - It's nearly Christmas, and Bayer Crop Science gives out some presents. As the company announced, a $750 million settlement with U.S. rice farmers is now binding and can move forward. In summer the German firm had agreed...



Bonn – Germany’s federal government is prolonging one of its most successful measures to date for stimulating the establishment of high-tech companies – the High-Tech-Gründerfonds (HTGF). The HTGF was launched in 2005 with €272m...



Leverkusen – One short statement from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) means one giant step for German biotech company Biofrontera. The agency issued a favourable opinion on the firm’s marketing approval application for its...



While the European sovereign debt crisis keeps capital markets in a choke-hold, with potential negative effects on the financing situation in many industries – including biotech – there was encouraging news for drug-developing...



Heidelberg – There is still life in the European life science finance. EMBL Ventures has closed a €40m fund. The early stage investor and the venture capital arm of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory(EMBL) announced the...



Düsseldorf – BIO-Europe 2011 in Düsseldorf has again broken all previous records in terms of participants and company numbers. More than 3,000 representatives from 1,800 companies registered for Europe‘s largest partnering event....



Brussels/San Francisco – As the biggest biotech partnering event on the continent, BioEurope, draws to a close, the venture capital community sent ambivalent messages for life sciences. Dow Jones VentureSource, an analyst,...

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