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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Presence of activin (erythroid differentiation factor) in unfertilized eggs and blastulae of Xenopus laevis.

Activin A, a member of the transforming growth factor beta superfamily, has recently been found to have potent mesoderm-inducing activity on isolated early Xenopus animal-cap cells. We measured the activin activity of the Xenopus egg extract by using an erythroid-differentiating test with Friend leukemia cells. The results showed that an activin homologue is, indeed, contained in unfertilized eggs and blastulae of Xenopus laevis in a considerable amount. This activity was eluted at the same retention time as human activin A when fractionated by reversed-phase HPLC. Furthermore, the fraction containing erythroid-differentiating factor activity had mesoderm-inducing activity on Xenopus animal-cap cells. The mesoderm-inducing activity of this fraction was suppressed when coincubated with follistatin, an activin-binding protein. These results suggest that an endogenous activin may be a natural mesoderm-inducing factor acting in Xenopus embryogenesis.[1]


  1. Presence of activin (erythroid differentiation factor) in unfertilized eggs and blastulae of Xenopus laevis. Asashima, M., Nakano, H., Uchiyama, H., Sugino, H., Nakamura, T., Eto, Y., Ejima, D., Nishimatsu, S., Ueno, N., Kinoshita, K. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1991) [Pubmed]
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