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Nature. 1990 Apr 26;344(6269):868-70.

Activin is a nerve cell survival molecule.

Author information

1
Salk Institute, La Jolla, California 92037.

Abstract

The structures of five neurotrophic molecules have so far been published. Nerve growth factor, fibroblast growth factor and purpurin, have been identified as nerve-cell survival molecules. More recently, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and ciliary neurotrophic factor have been cloned and sequenced. As all these proteins stimulate the survival of ciliary or sensory neurons, a new cell survival assay is required if novel neurotrophic molecules are to be discovered. P19 teratoma cells differentiate to nerve-like cells in the presence of 5 x 10(-7) M retinoic acid (RA). But when P19 cells are plated in N2 synthetic medium without being exposed to RA, they die within 48 h. In an attempt to identify a molecule(s) that can substitute for RA in promoting P19 survival, we assayed serum-free growth-conditioned media for their ability to promote P19 survival. One cell line from the rat eye secreted a molecule that promoted the survival of P19 cells and some types of nerve cell. We identified this molecule as activin, better known for its role in hormone secretion.

PMID:
2330043
DOI:
10.1038/344868a0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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