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Mech Dev. 2000 Mar 1;91(1-2):97-104.

Overlapping and specific functions of Braf and Craf-1 proto-oncogenes during mouse embryogenesis.

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Laboratory on Genetics, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, USA.


The three mammalian Raf serine/threonine protein kinases mediate the transduction of proliferative and differentiative signals from cell surface receptors to the nucleus. In vertebrates, Raf signaling has been implicated in the progression of mouse embryos through the two-cell stage and in the induction of posterior mesoderm. However, mouse embryos mutant for each of the Raf genes exhibit no developmental defects before mid-gestation. Here we describe the phenotype of mouse mutants with different combinations of mutant Craf-1 and Braf alleles. Our results show that Raf signaling is indeed indispensable for normal development beyond the blastocyst stage. However, due to a significant redundancy between Craf-1 and Braf, either gene is sufficient for normal development until mid-gestation. The molecular and developmental mechanisms for this redundancy were investigated by monitoring the expression of Raf genes throughout embryogenesis and by biochemical studies in mutant cell lines.

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