Cripto-1 (CR-1), also known as Teratocarcinoma-derived growth factor 1 (TDGF1), is a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-GFC family and has been implicated in both embryogenesis and carcinogenesis. During early vertebrate development, CR-1 functions as a co-receptor for Nodal, a transforming growth factor b (TGFb) family member, and is essential for mesoderm and endoderm formation and anterior-posterior and left-right axis establishment. In adult tissues, CR-1 is expressed at a low level in all stages of mammary gland development, and expression increases during pregnancy and lactation.
Over-expression of CR-1 in mouse mammary epithelial cells leads to their transformation in vitro, and when injected in mammary glands, CR-1 produces ductal hyperplasias.
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