Platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs) were discovered more than two decades ago. Today the PDGF family of growth factors consists of five different disulphide-linked dimers built up of four different polypeptide chains encoded by four different genes. These isoforms, PDGF-AA, PDGF-AB, PDGF-BB, PDGF-CC and PDGF-DD, act via two receptor tyrosine kinases, PDGF receptors α and β. The classic PDGFs, PDGF-A and PDGF-B, undergo intracellular activation during transport in the exocytic pathway for subsequent secretion, while the novel PDGFs, PDGF-C and PDGF-D, are secreted as latent factors that require activation by extracellular proteases. The classical PDGF polypeptide chains, PDGF-A and PDGF-B, are well studied and they regulate several physiological and pathophysiological processes, mainly using cells of mesenchymal or neuroectodermal origin as their targets. The discovery of two additional ligands for the two PDGF receptors suggests that PDGF-mediated cellular signaling is more complex than previously thought. © 2004 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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