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Growth Factors. 1997;14(1):39-57.

Amphibian FGF-1 is structurally and functionally similar to but antigenically distinguishable from its mammalian counterpart.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Ohio State University, College of Medicine, Columbus 43210, USA.


Recent studies have shown that fibroblast growth factors (FGF) play an important role in the diverse cellular mechanisms involved with vertebrate development. One system which has received a great deal of attention is the developing limb in part because of the extensive epithelial-mesenchymal interactions that take place during this process. Because it closely parallels the developmental process of the limb and is a model for wound repair, the phenomenon of amphibian limb regeneration has been used to investigate the role of FGF in these processes. We have recently reported on the cloning and functional characterization of an FGF receptor (FGFR) isolated from amphibian regenerative tissue. In this report, we describe the isolation and characterization of an FGF-1 molecule from the newt, Notophthalmus viridescens. Amino acid sequence comparisons indicate that the newt FGF-1 exhibits between 79 to 83% identity with FGF-1 from mammalian and avian species. The full length cDNA of the newt FGF-1 was cloned into a prokaryotic expression vector and purified from E. coli. Although the newt FGF-1 shares a high degree of primary amino acid sequence similarity with other FGF-1 molecules, the recombinant protein was not detected in a Western blot analysis using a polyclonal antibody directed against mammalian FGF-1. Despite the antigenic divergence, the newt FGF-1 was capable of binding to NIH/3T3 and Chinese hamster ovary cells overexpressing mammalian and amphibian FGFRs with dissociation constants comparable to those reported for mammalian FGF-1. Newt FGF-1 could also be cross-linked to receptors on the surface of NIH/3T3 cells. In addition, it elicits a mitogenic response in NIH/3T3 cells indistinguishable from human recombinant FGF-1.

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