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Dev Dyn. 1994 Nov;201(3):216-26.

Expression of epidermal growth factor family gene members in early mouse development.

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  • 1Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104.


Transcription of four members of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family, EGF, TGF-alpha, Amphiregulin, and Cripto, was investigated in the ovulated unfertilized egg and preimplantation embryo using cDNA libraries. EGF was present as a maternal message only, TGF-alpha was present at low levels in each library, Amphiregulin was not detected, and Cripto transcripts were first detected in the blastocyst cDNA library. In situ hybridization studies of the implanting embryo revealed Cripto expression localized to the entire ectoderm and then to the rapidly growing ectoplacental cone. At gastrulation, Cripto was detected in the primitive streak and developing mesoderm. During organogenesis, Cripto localized to the developing heart. Two Cripto transcripts were detected: one is confined to the early embryo and teratocarcinoma cells, and the other, first found in the fetus, is the major form detected in adult organs.

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