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Mech Dev. 1991 Feb;33(2):157-65.

Differentiation of aggregated murine P19 embryonal carcinoma cells is induced by a novel visceral endoderm-specific FGF-like factor and inhibited by activin A.

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Hubrecht Laboratory, Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology, Utrecht.


Aggregation of P19 embryonal carcinoma cells in the presence of a factor, secreted by the visceral endoderm-like cell line END-2, induces differentiation to cell types including visceral endoderm, mesoderm-derived muscle tissue and neurons. This factor is different from activin A, type beta transforming growth factors (TGF beta) and fibroblast growth factors (FGF) although its acid- and heat-lability and its stability in the presence of reducing agents resemble the properties of the FGFs. The END-2 factor is completely inhibited in its action by activin A. This inhibitory effect of activin A is not specific for the END-2 factor as retinoic acid (RA)-induced differentiation of aggregated P19 EC cells into neurons (10(-8) M RA) or mesoderm-derived muscle tissue (10(-9) M RA) is also completely inhibited by activin A. The results of this study suggest that the END-2 activity and activin A are intimately involved in the induction and regulation, respectively, of early differentiation processes in vertebrate embryogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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