TEK, or TIE-2, is an endothelial cell-specific receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) that is known as a functioning molecule of vascular endothelial cells. TEK comprises a subfamily of RTK with TIE, and these two receptors play critical roles in vascular maturation, maintenance of integrity and remodeling. Targeted mutagenesis of both Tek and its agonistic ligand, Angiopoietin-1, result in embryonic lethality, demonstrating that the signal transduction pathways mediated by this receptor are crucial for normal embryonic development. TEK signaling is indispensable for the development of the embryonic vasculature and suggests that TEK signaling may also be required for the development of the tumor vasculature.
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