Mesoderm induction in amphibians: the role of TGF-beta 2-like factors

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Science  12 Feb 1988:
Vol. 239, Issue 4841, pp. 783-785
DOI: 10.1126/science.3422517


Mesoderm induction in the amphibian embryo can be studied by exposing animal region explants (destined to become ectoderm) to appropriate stimuli and assaying the appearance of mesodermal products like alpha-actin messenger RNA. Transforming growth factor beta 2 (TGF-beta 2), but not TGF-beta 1, was active in alpha-actin induction, while addition of fibroblast growth factor had a small synergistic effect. Medium conditioned by Xenopus XTC cells (XTC-CM), known to have powerful mesoderm-inducing activity, was shown to contain TGF-beta-like activity as measured by a radioreceptor binding assay, colony formation in NRK cells, and growth inhibition in CCL64 cells. The activity of XTC-CM in mesoderm induction and in growth inhibition of CCL64 cells was inhibited partially by antibodies to TGF-beta 2 but not by antibodies to TGF-beta 1. Thus, a TGF-beta 2-like molecule may be involved in mesoderm induction.

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