epidermal growth factor

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The prototype member of a family of proteins that are important in regulating growth, proliferation, and survival of mammalian cells. Other family members include transforming growth factor α (TGF-α) and the neuregulins. EGF mediates its effects by binding to EGF receptors on the surface of target cells, notably in epithelial and mesenchymal (mesoderm-derived) tissue. Recombinant human EGF (rhEGF) is prepared commercially as an agent to promote wound healing. Overexpression or overactivity of the EGF receptor has an important role in certain cancers, such as lung and brain cancers. EGF is commonly added to culture media to promote division of cultured mammalian cells. See also growth factor.

Subjects: Chemistry — Biological Sciences.

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