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

High molecular mass forms of epidermal growth factor in pig uterine secretions.

Accumulating evidence suggests that uterine luminal fluids contain a variety of polypeptide growth factors and cytokines that, it is speculated, have roles in the development, growth and differentiation of the uterus and, during pregnancy, in the growth and survival of the embryo. Although epidermal growth factor ( EGF) has previously been identified by radioimmunoassay and immunohistochemistry in the pig uterus, there have been no detailed studies of the secreted EGF protein. EGF was therefore purified from uterine flushings and uterine fluids of nonpregnant pigs of mixed breed using a variety of ion-exchange chromatography steps. Uterine flushings and fluids contained an anionic factor(s) that at 4 degrees C competed with 125I-labelled mouse EGF for binding to EGF receptors on an endometrial carcinoma cell line and stimulated DNA synthesis in Balb/c mouse 3T3 fibroblasts. As analysed by gel filtration, uterine fluids contained a 3-6 kDa factor that stimulated 3T3 cell DNA synthesis and was a competitor of cellular 125I-labelled EGF binding. Gel filtration further revealed that uterine flushings and fluids contained, respectively, 45 kDa and 40-70 kDa moieties that were mitogenic and that bound to the EGF receptor. SDS-PAGE and western blotting using an antiserum specific for pig EGF revealed immunoreactive forms of EGF of approximately 25 kDa in partially purified uterine flushings. It is concluded that uterine secretory EGF occurs, at least in part, as high molecular mass proteins. The ability of these high molecular mass EGFs to bind to and activate the EGF receptor suggests that they may be authentic ligands for the EGF receptor in utero.[1]


  1. High molecular mass forms of epidermal growth factor in pig uterine secretions. Brigstock, D.R., Kim, G.Y., Steffen, C.L., Liu, A., Vegunta, R.K., Ismail, N.H. J. Reprod. Fertil. (1996) [Pubmed]
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