Growth factors are small proteins that regulate a wide range of cellular processes. They are responsible for wound healing, cell proliferation via cell growth and division, and differentiation. They are critical elements of the cell life cycle. They play a role in the fetal development as well as tissue maintenance. Growth factors can be considered as signaling protein and include some cytokines and hormones.
Growth factors activity
Growth factors usually have a short half-life and slow diffusion. They preferentially act locally and are secreted by cells neighboring the inflammation. However they can be also secreted by glands and distant tissues and transported in the blood vessels. Therefore they act with endocrine, paracrine or autocrine mechanisms. Most of growth factors transmit their signal upon binding on transmembrane receptors that trigger the in-cell corresponding cascade. A lot of these receptors have a tyrosine kinase activity. More rarely, they can pass through the cell membrane to activate intracellular receptors. This is especially true for hormones such as androgen and estrogen. The response to this activation depends on various factors including the type of receptors, the internal cell signaling process, the number of target cells and concentration of the growth factor.
Growth factors can be classified given their activity target cells or tissues. This is the case for epidermal growth factors (EGF), hematopoietic growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), and nerve growth factor (NGF).
Growth factor usage
Growth factors are used in biotech science to feed cell culture medium and promote cell proliferation. Some of them have also been validated for therapeutic use such as erythropoietin. The abnormal secretion of these growth factors can be a signal of diseases development such as tumor growth.
Antibodies targeting growth factors may be used in many studies. Assessing the quantities or interaction of these signaling molecules lead to creating knowledge of growth and development mechanisms. Proteogenix primary antibodies anti-growth factors can help researchers in this ambition.