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Science. 1994 Apr 1;264(5155):101-4.

Characterization of type I receptors for transforming growth factor-beta and activin.

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  • 1Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Uppsala, Sweden.


Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) and activin exert their effects by binding to heteromeric complexes of type I and type II receptors. The type II receptors for TGF-beta and activin are transmembrane serine-threonine kinases; a series of related receptors, denoted activin receptor-like kinase (ALK) 1 to 5, have recently been identified, and ALK-6 is described here. ALK-5 has been shown to be a functional TGF-beta type I receptor. A systematic analysis revealed that most ALKs formed heteromeric complexes with the type II receptors for TGF-beta and activin after overexpression in COS cells; however, among the six ALKs, only ALK-5 was a functional TGF-beta type I receptor for activation of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, and only ALK-2 and ALK-4 bound activin with high affinity.

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