Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Poulos, Sylvia
item Hausman, Gary

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Animal Science
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/8/2003
Publication Date: 11/20/2004
Citation: Poulos, S.P., Hausman, G.J. 2004. Growth and development: cell differentiation. In: Pond, W.G., Bell, A.W., editors. Encyclopedia of Animal Science. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. p. 505-509.

Interpretive Summary: As a cell develops it gains specific characteristics, such as its structure and function, that distinguishes it from other types of cells. This highly regulated process is called cell differentiation. Transcription factors activate or inhibit genes and can change the proteins that a cell makes. Extracellular matrices can expose the cell to outside factors, help cells move, and send signals to the cell. New technologies which help determine changes in protein and gene levels will help us understand what controls the cell differentiation process. By understanding this processes more, we can find ways to improve animal health, performance, and production.

Technical Abstract: This review highlights current knowledge of the role of transcription factors and extracellular matrices in differentiation of cells in studies using production animals. Cell differentiation is an integral part of tissue growth and homeostasis. During differentiation a cell's structure, phenotype, and function are determined. Though often specific to a particular cell type, transcription factors, growth factors, extracellular matrices, and external compounds are key partners in the regulation of cell differentiation. Transcription factors activate gene transcription resulting in protein expression. Extracellular matrices provide substrates for cell adhesion and migration, present necessary factors necessary for cell growth and differentiation, and act as signaling molecules. It is known that gene and protein expression influence cell differentiation. The continued development and refinement of genomic and proteomic techniques will aid in understanding this process. Understanding the regulation of cell differentiation can lead to strategies aimed at improving health, performance, and production in animals.

Last Modified: 07/27/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page