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Bioessays. 1995 Oct;17(10):839-46.

Epidermal growth factor receptor function in early mammalian development.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


We review here the data indicating a role for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF receptor) signalling in early mouse development. Embryonic development of the metazoan embryo generally begins with the formation of a cystic structure and epithelial layers that subsequently form anlagen of the definitive body parts and organs. For the mammalian embryo, this cystic structure is a blastocyst whose wall consists of trophectoderm, the first epithelium to develop during mammalian embryogenesis. The onset of expression and function of EGF receptors is coincident with the onset of trophectoderm development. Modulating EGF receptor expression and function modulates trophectoderm differentiation, leading to the hypothesis that functional EGF receptors participate in the induction of trophectoderm development and perhaps of other embryonic epithelial derivatives such as nervous tissues.

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