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Nature. 1985 Feb 7-13;313(6002):491-2.

Vaccinia virus encodes a polypeptide homologous to epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor.


Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor type I (TGF) are polypeptides of 53 and 50 amino acid residues, respectively. Both bind to EGF receptor, a 1,200-residue transmembranous glycoprotein, leading to phosphorylation of the receptor, enhancement of its tyrosine-specific kinase activity and ultimately to stimulation of cell growth. We report here that a 140-residue polypeptide encoded by one of the early genes of vaccinia virus (VV) is related closely to EGF and TGF. The presence of putative signal and transmembranous sequences further suggests that the viral protein might be an integral membrane protein, but that, as in the case of EGF itself, the membrane-associated form may be the precursor of a soluble growth factor. Production of EGF-like growth factors by virally infected cells could account for the proliferative diseases associated with members of the poxvirus family such as Shope fibroma virus, Yaba tumour virus, and molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV).

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