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New Biol. 1990 May;2(5):410-9.

The many faces of epidermal growth factor repeats.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0724.


Epidermal growth factor (EGF) is a short peptide with a distinctive motif of six cysteines. This motif is found in many different proteins of diverse functions. One approach to determining the functional utility of EGF repeats is to undertake a methodical analysis of each individual protein. While this approach has met with some success, it has been applied to only a small fraction of all the EGF repeat-bearing proteins. A second approach is to consider all these proteins as a whole but give particular attention to structural and functional similarities. This review attempts a broad, although not comprehensive, survey of the families of proteins containing EGF repeats, with particular emphasis on the relative distribution of calcium-binding and noncalcium-binding EGF repeats.

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