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Cell Struct Funct. 2006;31(1):1-14.

ErbB and HB-EGF signaling in heart development and function.

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Department of Cell Biology, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


The epidermal growth factor (EGF)-ErbB signaling network is composed of multiple ligands of the EGF family and four tyrosine kinase receptors of the ErbB family. In higher vertebrates, these four receptors bind a multitude of ligands. Ligand binding induces the formation of various homo- and heterodimers of ErbB, potentially providing for a high degree of signal diversity. ErbB receptors and their ligands are expressed in a variety of tissues throughout development. Recent advances in gene targeting strategies in mice have revealed that the EGF-ErbB signaling network has fundamental roles in development, proliferation, differentiation, and homeostasis in mammals. The heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) is a member of the EGF family of growth factors that binds to and activates the EGF receptor (EGFR/ErbB1) and ErbB4. Recent studies using several mutant mice lacking HB-EGF expression have revealed that HB-EGF has a critical role in normal heart function and in normal cardiac valve formation in conjunction with ErbB receptors. HB-EGF signaling through ErbB2 is essential for the maintenance of homeostasis in the adult heart, whereas HB-EGF signaling through EGFR is required during cardiac valve development. In this review, we introduce and discuss the role of ErbB receptors in heart function and development, focusing on the physiological function of HB-EGF in these processes.

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