Mechanism and Function of Signaling by the TGFβ Superfamily

  • P. A. Hoodless
  • J. L. Wrana
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 228)


Transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) was initially identified based on its ability to induce the anchorage-independent growth of normal rat kidney fibroblasts (Roberts et al. 1981). It is now apparent that TGFβ is the founding member of a superfamily of growth and differentiation factors that includes almost 40 members from animals as diverse as C. elegans, Drosophila and humans. The superfamily is generally subdivided into three groups, the prototypic TGFβs, the activins and the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs). However, with new members constantly being identified these divisions are becoming increasingly difficult to define. Nevertheless, the study of the biology of this large family has provided us with some interesting and surprising insights into how these factors can regulate a staggering array of diverse developmental and physiological processes. In addition, major advances have been made in elucidating the mechanism of signaling by TGFβ-like factors. In this review we will focus on recent developments in our understanding of TGFβ signaling and on the multiple roles these factors play in controlling inductive interactions and patterning during development.


Transform Growth Factor Primitive Streak Apical Ectodermal Ridge Lateral Plate Mesoderm Activin Receptor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. A. Hoodless
    • 1
  • J. L. Wrana
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Program in Developmental Biology and Division of GastroenterologyThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Medical Genetics and MicrobiologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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