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Dev Biol. 1992 Feb;149(2):247-60.

Epidermal growth factor receptor mRNA and protein increase after the four-cell preimplantation stage in murine development.

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La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation, California 92037.


Epidermal growth factor receptors (EGF-Rs) are expressed at increasing levels on mouse preimplantation embryos. Immunofluorescence assays were used to show that unfertilized eggs and 2-cell embryos have a very low level of reactivity to antimouse EGF-R antibodies, but by the 4-cell stage and later the reactivity increases. The synthesis of EGF-R protein was verified at the blastocyst stage by immunoprecipitation of a 170-kDa metabolically labeled protein. The EGF-R protein is expressed on cell plasma membrane surfaces, but after compaction at the 8-cell stage concentrates on the apical cell surfaces. We also find a low level of expression of EGF-R protein on inner cell mass cells; thus, all cell lineages express receptors from the beginning of gestation. The receptor protein synthesized by the 8-cell embryo and later is probably translated from embryonic transcription, since reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction indicates increasing levels of mRNA starting after the 4-cell stage. However, we also detected maternal mRNA in zygotes and 2-cell embryos. The pervasive nature of EGF-R expression throughout development suggests important roles for these receptors which could include autocrine and paracrine stimulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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