Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are phylogenetically conserved signaling molecules that belong to the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta superfamily and are involved in the cascades of body patterning and morphogenesis. The activities of BMPs are precisely regulated at various stages, and extracellulary, mainly regulated by certain classes of molecules termed as BMP antagonists and pro-BMP factors. BMP antagonists inhibit BMP function by prohibiting them from binding their cognate receptors, whereas pro-BMP factors stimulate BMP function. In this review, the functions of these BMP regulators will be discussed. (c) 2009 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.