13. The Angiogenesis Signaling Cascade
VEGF and bFGF are first synthesized inside tumor cells and then secreted into the surrounding tissue. When they encounter endothelial cells, they bind to specific proteins, called receptors, sitting on the outer surface of the cells. The binding of either VEGF or bFGF to its appropriate receptor activates a series of relay proteins that transmits a signal into the nucleus of the endothelial cells. The nuclear signal ultimately prompts a group of genes to make products needed for new endothelial cell growth.