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Gene Review

VGF  -  VGF nerve growth factor inducible

Homo sapiens

Synonyms: Neurosecretory protein VGF
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Disease relevance of VGF

  • The VGF gene encodes a secretory protein that is expressed in a cell type-restricted pattern in neuroendocrine cells and is up-regulated by nerve growth factor (NGF) in the rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cell line [1].
  • Upsetting the balance: VGF and the regulation of body weight [2].
  • In conclusion, we present here the identification in the CNS of a previously uncharacterized VGF-derived peptide and prove that its chronic i.c.v. infusion effected an increase in EE and limited the early phase of diet-induced obesity [3].
  • Our data demonstrate that a TK- and VGF- mutant vaccinia virus is significantly attenuated in resting cells in vitro and demonstrates tumor-specific replication in vivo [4].
  • There was no toxicity from vvDD-GFP because nude mice receiving 10(8) pfu of IP vvDD-GFP lived >100 days, whereas mice receiving WT, VGF-, or TK- virus had median survivals of only 6, 17, and 29 days, respectively [4].

High impact information on VGF


Biological context of VGF


Anatomical context of VGF

  • Negative cis-acting elements that repress promoter activity in cell lines that do not normally express VGF are located between nucleotides -2,305 and -573 and between -458 and -204 [1].
  • RESULTS: Supernatant from CR-19-infected cells (VGF+) and from truncated vSC20PDGF infected cells caused mild and marked proliferation of 3T3 cells, respectively, whereas supernatant from full-length vSC20PDGF virally infected cells did not [8].
  • The neuroendocrine protein VGF is sorted into dense-core granules and is secreted apically by polarized rat thyroid epithelial cells [9].
  • Photoperiodic regulation of histamine H3 receptor and VGF messenger ribonucleic acid in the arcuate nucleus of the Siberian hamster [10].
  • Using immunocytochemistry, we have localised the corresponding VGF protein product in various neuronal groups, including primary sensory and enteric neurons, and in endocrine cells of the adrenal medulla, adenohypophysis and gut [11].

Associations of VGF with chemical compounds

  • Phosphopeptide analysis indicated that the phosphorylation of the PLC-gamma 1 by VGF includes tyrosine residues identical to those phosphorylated by EGF [7].
  • Nerve growth factor rapidly regulates VGF gene transcription through cycloheximide sensitive and insensitive pathways [12].
  • Twelve candidates were identified using mass-spectrometric techniques as fragments of the possibly neuroprotective neuroendocrine protein VGF and another one as the complement factor C3 descendent C3f [13].
  • These findings suggest that the induction of VGF by NGF is distinct from that by bFGF in terms of sensitivities to MTA and staurosporine [14].

Regulatory relationships of VGF

  • We show mRNA for the histamine H3 receptor is down-regulated and VGF is up-regulated in the dmpARC in hamsters switched from long- to short-day photoperiod [10].
  • In addition to the morphological change, VIP induced expression of VGF protein, a neuron-specific protein associated with neuronal differentiation [15].

Other interactions of VGF

  • Thus TGF-alpha and VGF failed to functionally compete for the EGF receptor in the murine spleen cell system [16].
  • However, VGF did not cross-react in a radioimmunoassay specific for small and large forms of TGF-alpha and exhibited minimal cross-reactivity with antisera to EGF [17].
  • Our results suggest that the unglycosylated form of VGF is an EGF antagonist to selected cells and that the production of unglycosylated form of VGF by the cytolytic vaccinia virus may serve as a mechanism whereby inhibition of growth and metabolism of selected host cells may be used to facilitate the propagation of the virus infection [18].
  • Moreover, human chromogranin B, a protein of the regulated pathway, co-localizes in the same granules with VGF [9].
  • Four of them were further purified by strong anionic exchange chromatography (SAX) and identified by MS analysis as cystatin C, two beta-2-microglobulin isoforms, an unknown 7.7 kDa polypeptide, and a 4.8 kDa VGF polypeptide [19].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of VGF

  • Here, a VGF peptide designated TLQP-21 was identified in rat brain extracts by means of immunoprecipitation, microcapillary liquid chromatography-tandem MS, and database searching algorithms [3].
  • By immunoelectron microscopy, we have demonstrated that VGF localizes in dense-core granules [9].
  • By confocal microscopy, we have found that in transient transfection, all mutant proteins are sorted into granules and co-localize with the full-length VGF [9].
  • Site-directed mutagenesis was used to identify the KRKRKK(488) motif as the target within VGF sequence which leads to the production of VGF20 [20].
  • 3. On the basis of in situ hybridization and immunohistochemical studies, the in vivo tissue-specific expression of VGF during differentiation and in the adult will be summarized [21].


  1. Molecular cloning and characterization of the human VGF promoter region. Canu, N., Possenti, R., Rinaldi, A.M., Trani, E., Levi, A. J. Neurochem. (1997) [Pubmed]
  2. Upsetting the balance: VGF and the regulation of body weight. Altshuler, D., Hirschhorn, J.N. Neuron (1999) [Pubmed]
  3. TLQP-21, a VGF-derived peptide, increases energy expenditure and prevents the early phase of diet-induced obesity. Bartolomucci, A., La Corte, G., Possenti, R., Locatelli, V., Rigamonti, A.E., Torsello, A., Bresciani, E., Bulgarelli, I., Rizzi, R., Pavone, F., D'Amato, F.R., Severini, C., Mignogna, G., Giorgi, A., Schinin??, M.E., Elia, G., Brancia, C., Ferri, G.L., Conti, R., Ciani, B., Pascucci, T., Dell'omo, G., Muller, E.E., Levi, A., Moles, A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2006) [Pubmed]
  4. Systemic cancer therapy with a tumor-selective vaccinia virus mutant lacking thymidine kinase and vaccinia growth factor genes. McCart, J.A., Ward, J.M., Lee, J., Hu, Y., Alexander, H.R., Libutti, S.K., Moss, B., Bartlett, D.L. Cancer Res. (2001) [Pubmed]
  5. VGF: a novel role for this neuronal and neuroendocrine polypeptide in the regulation of energy balance. Salton, S.R., Ferri, G.L., Hahm, S., Snyder, S.E., Wilson, A.J., Possenti, R., Levi, A. Frontiers in neuroendocrinology. (2000) [Pubmed]
  6. Cloning, structural organization analysis, and chromosomal assignment of the human gene for the neurosecretory protein VGF. Canu, N., Possenti, R., Ricco, A.S., Rocchi, M., Levi, A. Genomics (1997) [Pubmed]
  7. Tyrosine phosphorylation of phospholipase C-gamma 1 by vaccinia virus growth factor. Kim, H.S., Lee, Y.H., Min, D.S., Chang, J.S., Ryu, S.H., Ahn, B.Y., Suh, P.G. Virology (1995) [Pubmed]
  8. Expression of secreted platelet-derived growth factor-B by recombinant nonreplicating and noncytopathic vaccina virus. Norton, A., Peplinski, G.R., Tsung, K. Ann. Surg. (1996) [Pubmed]
  9. The neuroendocrine protein VGF is sorted into dense-core granules and is secreted apically by polarized rat thyroid epithelial cells. Gentile, F., Calì, G., Zurzolo, C., Corteggio, A., Rosa, P., Calegari, F., Levi, A., Possenti, R., Puri, C., Tacchetti, C., Nitsch, L. Exp. Cell Res. (2004) [Pubmed]
  10. Photoperiodic regulation of histamine H3 receptor and VGF messenger ribonucleic acid in the arcuate nucleus of the Siberian hamster. Barrett, P., Ross, A.W., Balik, A., Littlewood, P.A., Mercer, J.G., Moar, K.M., Sallmen, T., Kaslin, J., Panula, P., Schuhler, S., Ebling, F.J., Ubeaud, C., Morgan, P.J. Endocrinology (2005) [Pubmed]
  11. A novel neuroendocrine gene product: selective VGF8a gene expression and immuno-localisation of the VGF protein in endocrine and neuronal populations. Ferri, G.L., Levi, A., Possenti, R. Brain Res. Mol. Brain Res. (1992) [Pubmed]
  12. Nerve growth factor rapidly regulates VGF gene transcription through cycloheximide sensitive and insensitive pathways. Baybis, M., Salton, S.R. FEBS Lett. (1992) [Pubmed]
  13. Identification of novel biomarker candidates by differential peptidomics analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in Alzheimer's disease. Selle, H., Lamerz, J., Buerger, K., Dessauer, A., Hager, K., Hampel, H., Karl, J., Kellmann, M., Lannfelt, L., Louhija, J., Riepe, M., Rollinger, W., Tumani, H., Schrader, M., Zucht, H.D. Comb. Chem. High Throughput Screen. (2005) [Pubmed]
  14. The signal transduction pathway for VGF expression due to NGF is different from that due to bFGF in PC12h cell. Miyatake, Y., Okumura, N., Nagai, K., Nakagawa, H. Biochem. Mol. Biol. Int. (1993) [Pubmed]
  15. Vasoactive intestinal peptide induces differentiation and MAP kinase activation in PC12h cells. Okumura, N., Miyatake, Y., Takao, T., Tamaru, T., Nagai, K., Okada, M., Nakagawa, H. J. Biochem. (1994) [Pubmed]
  16. Differential effects of epidermal growth factor, transforming growth factor-alpha, and vaccinia virus growth factor in the positive regulation of IFN-gamma production. Abdullah, N.A., Torres, B.A., Basu, M., Johnson, H.M. J. Immunol. (1989) [Pubmed]
  17. Vaccinia virus-infected cells release a novel polypeptide functionally related to transforming and epidermal growth factors. Twardzik, D.R., Brown, J.P., Ranchalis, J.E., Todaro, G.J., Moss, B. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1985) [Pubmed]
  18. Growth inhibition by vaccinia virus growth factor. Lin, Y.Z., Ke, X.H., Tam, J.P. J. Biol. Chem. (1990) [Pubmed]
  19. A panel of cerebrospinal fluid potential biomarkers for the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. Carrette, O., Demalte, I., Scherl, A., Yalkinoglu, O., Corthals, G., Burkhard, P., Hochstrasser, D.F., Sanchez, J.C. Proteomics (2003) [Pubmed]
  20. Isolation and characterization of VGF peptides in rat brain. Role of PC1/3 and PC2 in the maturation of VGF precursor. Trani, E., Giorgi, A., Canu, N., Amadoro, G., Rinaldi, A.M., Halban, P.A., Ferri, G.L., Possenti, R., Schininà, M.E., Levi, A. J. Neurochem. (2002) [Pubmed]
  21. Processing, distribution, and function of VGF, a neuronal and endocrine peptide precursor. Levi, A., Ferri, G.L., Watson, E., Possenti, R., Salton, S.R. Cell. Mol. Neurobiol. (2004) [Pubmed]
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