F9 teratocarcinoma stem cells treated with retinoic acid (RA) and dibutyryl cAMP (but2 cAMP) differentiate into embryonic parietal endoderm. Using heparin-affinity chromatography, endothelial cell proliferation assays, immunoprecipitation, and Western analysis with antibodies specific for acidic and basic fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), we detected biologically active FGF in F9 cells only after differentiation. A bovine basic FGF cDNA probe hybridized to 2.2-kb mRNAs in both F9 stem and parietal endoderm cells and to a 3.8-kb mRNA in F9 stem cells. A genomic DNA probe for acidic FGF hybridized to a 5.8-6.0-kb mRNA in both F9 stem and parietal endoderm cells, and to a 6.0-6.3-kb mRNA only in parietal endoderm cells. Although these FGF mRNAs were present in the stem cells, we could find no evidence that F9 stem cells synthesized FGFs, whereas differentiated F9 cells synthesized both acidic and basic FGF-like proteins. We conclude that biologically active factors with properties characteristic of acidic and basic FGF are expressed by F9 parietal endoderm cells after differentiation. Differentiating embryonic parietal endoderm thus may serve as a source of FGF molecules in the developing blastocyst, where these factors appear to play a central role in subsequent embryogenesis.

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