What's a mitogen?

Dom Spinella dspinella at chugaibio.com
Wed Feb 25 11:15:44 EST 1998

> Hi there. Could someone give me a full and thorough definition of what
> a mitogen is? I've looked through numerous books and articles but still
> haven't found a solid explanation of the concept. Thanks for your time!

A mitogen, as the name implies, is simply a substance that induces
mitosis, i.e. causes cells to divide and proliferate.  Most mitogenic
substances are specific for certain types of cells.  For example the
lectins Concanavalin-A (Con-A) or Phytohemagglutinin (PHA) are mitogenic
for T-lymphocytes.  Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a mitogen for
B-lymphocytes.  Hope that helps.
--Dom Spinella

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