Activin-like factor from a Xenopus laevis cell line responsible for mesoderm induction

Nature. 1990 Jun 21;345(6277):732-4. doi: 10.1038/345732a0.


Induction of mesoderm during early amphibian embryogenesis can be mimicked in vitro by adding growth factors, including heparin-binding and type-beta transforming growth factors (TGF-beta), to isolated ectoderm explants from Xenopus laevis embryos. Although the mesoderm-inducing factor (MIF) from X. laevis XTC cells (XTC-MIF) has properties similar to TGF-beta, this factor is still unidentified. Recently, we obtained a number of homogeneous cell lines from the heterogeneous XTC population, which differ in their MIF production. Only one, XTC-GTX-11, produced MIF, although it was similar to the rest of the clones in its production of known growth factors, including TGF-beta activity. This observation, together with the identification of activin A as a potent MIF led us to study the parallel activities of MIF and activin. Here we report an analysis of activin-like activity from XTC cells and some of the XTC clones, including XTC-GTX-11. There is a clear consistent correlation between MIF activity and presence of activin activity, indicating that XTC-MIF is the Xenopus homologue of mammalian activin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Activins
  • Animals
  • Biological Assay
  • Blastocyst / analysis
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / metabolism
  • Inhibins / analysis*
  • Inhibins / pharmacology
  • Leukemia, Erythroblastic, Acute / pathology
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Mesoderm / drug effects
  • Mesoderm / physiology*
  • Molecular Weight
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / drug effects
  • Pituitary Gland, Anterior / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Transforming Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Activins
  • Inhibins
  • Transforming Growth Factors
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone