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Bulletin du Cancer

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Growth factors of the EGF family and their receptors Volume 93, supplement 4, Numéro hors-série, Avril 2006

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Laboratoire d’ingénierie des systèmes macromoléculaires (LISM), CNRS UPR 9027, Institut de biologie structurale et microbiologie, 31, chemin Joseph-Aiguier, 13402 Marseille Cedex 20

The growth factors that have been the first discovered and the best studied belong to the family of epidermal growth factors (EGF) and their receptors have also been the most studied and the best understood. The activation of these receptors occurs through their dimerisation, which induces a change of conformation leading to the unveiling of an intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity, which in turn generates tyrosine phosphate moieties on the receptor itself and on cytoplasmic protein substrates. The interactions between the eleven growth factors and their four receptors allow a considerable variety of effects according to the cell type and the message received. The main consequence is the generation of proliferation signals which may follow several transduction pathways, among which the MAP kinase and the PI3 kinase pathway are the best known. The oncogenic alterations of the growth factor-receptor interaction are multiple and constitute several potential targets for therapeutic development.