Cripto/TDGF1 is a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF)- Cripto, Frl-1, and Cryptic (CFC) family. EGF-CFC family member proteins share a variant EGF-like motif, a conserved cysteine-rich domain, and a C-terminal hydrophobic region. Before gastrulation, Cripto is asymmetrically expressed in a proximal–distal gradient in the epiblast, and subsequently is expressed in the primitive streak and newly formed embryonic mesoderm. These proteins play key roles in intercellular signaling pathways during vertebrate embryogenesis. Mutations in Cripto/TDGF1 can cause autosomal visceral heterotaxy. Cripto/TDGF1 is involved in left-right asymmetric morphogenesis during organ development. Cripto signalling is essential for the conversion of a proximal–distal asymmetry into an orthogonal anterior–posterior axis. The mechanism of inhibitory effects of the Cripto includes both cancer cell apoptosis, activation of c-Jun-NH(2)-terminal kinase and p38 kinase signaling pathways and blocking of Akt phosphorylation. Thus, Cripto is a unique target, and Immunohistochemistry to Cripto could be of therapeutic value for human cancers.
teratocarcinoma-derived growth factor 1
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