Growth factors (GFs) are extracellular signaling polypeptides regulating cell proliferation, differentiation and survival. They exert a wide spectrum of biological activities selectively binding to and activating specific membrane receptors which then transfer the message to cell interior inducing specific biochemical pathways. GFs are especially involved in the regulation of angiogenesis, a physiological process underlining several pathologies. Molecules able to modulate angiogenesis, interfering with the molecular recognition between a GF and its receptor, have a big pharmacologic interest. Either GF and the receptor are potential drug target. Peptides are useful molecules to develop new lead compounds disrupting protein-protein interface for pharmacological applications. In this review we describe peptides targeting the receptors of the pro-angiogenic growth factors FGF, PDGF and VEGF. The biological function and the structure of each growth factor/receptor system are discussed, as well as the molecular interaction between peptides and the receptors. Finally, we highlight the pharmacological and diagnostic applications of these peptides in angiogenesis related diseases.
Keywords: Growth factor, peptide, VEGF, PDGF, FGF, angiogenesis
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