The neuregulins (NRGs) are a family of multipotent epidermalgrowth- factor-like (EGF-like) factors that arise from splice variants of a single gene. They influence the growth, differentiation, survival and fate of several cell types. We have now discovered a set of new neuregulin-like growth factors, which we call neuregulin-2 (NRG-2): these are encoded by their own gene and exhibit a distinct expression pattern in adult brain and developing heart. Like NRG-1, the EGF-like domain of the new ligands binds to both the ErbB3- and ErbB4-receptor tyrosine kinases. However, NRG-2 stimulates different ErbB-receptor tyrosine-phosphorylation profiles from NRG-1. Our results indicate that NRG-1 and NRG-2 mediate distinct biological processes by acting at different sites in tissues and eliciting different biochemical responses in cells.
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