HB-EGF: a unique mediator of embryo-uterine interactions during implantation

Exp Cell Res. 2009 Feb 15;315(4):619-26. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2008.07.025. Epub 2008 Aug 3.


An implantation-competent blastocyst, several hours prior to its attachment on the uterine wall, transmits signals to surrounding uterine cells and vice-versa to initiate a two-way interaction. The language of this precocious dialogue is versatile, taking advantage of secreted molecules for long-range interactions and membrane-bound molecules for more immediate interactions. Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF) was identified as an early messenger of implantation which uses both modes of communication. In this review, we discuss the footprint of HB-EGF as to how it was initially identified as a mediator of implantation and how it initiates embryo-uterine interactions during this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryo Implantation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heparin-binding EGF-like Growth Factor
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Ligands
  • Signal Transduction
  • Uterus / metabolism*


  • HBEGF protein, human
  • Heparin-binding EGF-like Growth Factor
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Ligands