The FGF1 subfamily of Fibroblast Growth Factors was the first of the FGFs to be isolated and identified around 1975 by Gospodarowicz and company. This subfamily is often called the “prototypical” FGF, comprised of 3 coding exons and exon 1 comprising the initiation methionine (Ornitz 2001). Prototypical, however, does not necessarily mean “ancestral”. Itoh and Ornitz (Itoh 2008) described a likely evolutionary tree, starting with an FGF13-like growth factor which eventually evolved into the 22 proteins we have today.

While considered paracrine FGFs, neither FGF1 nor FGF2 are typically secreted by the cell nor do they have N-terminal hydrophobic sequences (Itoh 2011). It is possible that they are released from damaged cells or some other exocytotic mechanism. It has also been reported that these growth factors can be directly translocated to the nucleus and act in an intracine manner (Antoine, 1997). The structure of the FGF1 mRNA is considered to be the least complicated of all the FGFs because not only does is it missing the signal sequence, but the open reading frame is flanked by termination codons. In contrast, FGF2 does not have the flanking codons and instead contains multiple alternative upstream CUG start sites for translation (Jackson, 1992).

The physiological roles of FGF1 and FGF2 are still not clearly understood. Null phenotypic mice are still viable and fertile and appear completely normal (although FGF2 knockout mice tend to have a decreased vascular tone and recover slower from ischaemic heart injury) (Itoh, 2011). FGF1 and FGF2 are involved in the promotion of endothelial cell proliferation as well as the in the organizing of endothelial cells into tube-like structures, promoting blood vessel growth. FGF1 has even been shown in induce angiogenesis in heart tissue in after coronary disease (Stegman, 2000). In addition, FGF1 and FGF2 seem to be involved in the regulation of synaptic plasticity and processes attributed to learning and memory in the hippocampus (Zechel, 2010).

FGF1 is also known to repair nerve injury, enabling functional regeneration of transected spinal cords in rats (Cheng, 1996) and also restored some function to paralyzed limbs of a 6-month old boy suffering from brachial plexus avulsion (Lin, 2005). FGF2 is one of the most potent regulators of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) self renewal and is an essential component of most culture media used to maintain their pleuripotency.

There is a great deal of cross-reactivity between different species of FGF1 or FGF2, with greater than 96% amino acid homology for both growth factors between mice, humans and rats. At Gold Bio, we’re committed to providing you the best source of these recombinant proteins! For more questions about these growth factors or any of our other products, you can email us at techsupport@goldbio.com.

Ornitz DM. and Itoh, N. (2001). "Fibroblast growth factors". Genome Biol. 2 (3): REVIEWS 3005.

Itoh, N., & Ornitz, D. M. (2008). Functional evolutionary history of the mouse Fgf gene family. Developmental Dynamics, 237(1), 18-27.

Itoh, N., & Ornitz, D. M. (2011). Fibroblast growth factors: from molecular evolution to roles in development, metabolism and disease. Journal of biochemistry, 149(2), 121-130.

Antoine, M., Reimers, K., Dickson, C., and Kiefer, P. (1997) Fibroblast growth factor 3, a protein with dual subcellular localization, is targeted to the nucleus and nucleolus by the concerted action of two nuclear localization signals and a nucleolar retention signal. J. Biol. Chem. 272, 29475_2981

Stegmann, T. J., Hoppert, T., Schneider, A., Gemeinhardt, S., Köcher, M., Ibing, R., & Strupp, G. (2000). Induction of myocardial neoangiogenesis by human growth factors. A new therapeutic approach in coronary heart disease]. Herz, 25(6), 589.

Zechel S, Werner S, Unsicker K, von Bohlen und Halbach O. 2010. Expression and functions of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) in hippocampal formation. Neuroscientist 16: 357-373.

Cheng, H., Cao, Y., & Olson, L. (1996). Spinal cord repair in adult paraplegic rats: partial restoration of hind limb function. Science, 273(5274), 510-513.

Lin, P. H., Cheng, H., Huang, W. C., & Chuang, T. Y. (2005). Spinal cord implantation with acidic fibroblast growth factor as a treatment for root avulsion in obstetric brachial plexus palsy. Journal of the Chinese Medical Association, 68(8), 392-396.

Jackson, A., Friedman, S., Zhan, X., Engleka, K. A., Forough, R., & Maciag, T. (1992). Heat shock induces the release of fibroblast growth factor 1 from NIH 3T3 cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 89(22), 10691-10695.

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