This gene encodes a cell surface tyrosine kinase receptor for members of the platelet-derived growth factor family. These growth factors are mitogens for cells of mesenchymal origin. The identity of the growth factor bound to a receptor monomer determines whether the functional receptor is a homodimer or a heterodimer, composed of both platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha and beta polypeptides. Studies in knockout mice, where homozygosity is lethal, indicate that the alpha form of the platelet-derived growth factor receptor is particularly important for kidney development since mice heterozygous for the receptor exhibit defective kidney phenotypes.
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