TGFβ and BMP signaling in skeletal muscle: potential significance for muscle-related disease

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Sep;25(9):464-71. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2014.06.002. Epub 2014 Jul 16.


The transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) superfamily comprises a large number of secreted proteins that regulate various fundamental biological processes underlying embryonic development and the postnatal regulation of many cell types and organs. Sequence similarities define two ligand subfamilies: the TGFβ/activin subfamily and the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) subfamily. The discovery that myostatin, a member of the TGFβ/activin subfamily, negatively controls muscle mass attracted attention to this pathway. However, recent findings of a positive role for BMP-mediated signaling in muscle have challenged the model of how the TGFβ network regulates skeletal muscle phenotype. This review illustrates how this complex network integrates crosstalk among members of the TGFβ superfamily and downstream signaling elements to regulate muscle in health and disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activin Receptors / chemistry
  • Activin Receptors / genetics
  • Activin Receptors / metabolism
  • Activins / genetics
  • Activins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Autophagy
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors / agonists*
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors / genetics
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors / metabolism
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Biological*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Atrophy / metabolism
  • Muscular Atrophy / pathology
  • Muscular Diseases / metabolism
  • Muscular Diseases / pathology
  • Protein Isoforms / agonists
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta / agonists*
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Activins
  • Activin Receptors
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein Receptors