Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Medicine

Department

Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

First Advisor

Dr. Craig Vander Kooi

Second Advisor

Dr. David Rodgers

Abstract

The vascular system is critical for maintaining homeostasis in all vertebrates. Structural studies of Neuropilin (Nrp), an essential angiogenic receptor, have defined its role in regulating angiogenesis, the formation of new vessels from the existing vasculature. Utilizing biochemical and biophysical tools we describe the ability of Nrp to function as a co-receptor for the VEGFR receptor tyrosine kinase. Two families of Nrp-1 ligands, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A (VEGF-A) and Semaphorin3F (Sema3F), physically compete for binding to the Nrp-1 b1 domain, and have opposite roles. VEGF-A is a potent pro-angiogenic cytokine while Sema3F is an angiogenesis inhibitor. Using coupled structural and functional studies, we have discovered the basis for potent competitive binding of Sema3F to Nrp1 requires engagement of two distinct binding sites. These data provide a basis for understanding the rational design of novel high affinity Nrp-1 inhibitor.

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