Regulation of differentiation by TGF-beta

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1996 Oct;6(5):581-6. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(96)80087-6.


Recent experiments in neural, skeletal, endothelial, and hematopoietic tissues have provided new insights into the way members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily regulate cellular differentiation. TGF-betas regulate the fate of multipotential stem cells instructively (in the neural crest) by regulating the expression or function of tissue-specific transcription factors, as well as selectively (in the mesenchyme) by regulating the expression of required growth factors and their receptors. During skeletal development, TGF-betas have unique functions and act sequentially to modulate chondrocyte and osteoblast differentiation. Responsiveness to TGF-betas changes as cells differentiate and evidence now suggests that changes in TGF-beta receptor profile may account for some of these differences. Drosophila and transgenic mouse models are now providing useful insights into mechanisms of TGF-beta action in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Vessels / cytology
  • Blood Vessels / physiology
  • Bone Marrow / physiology
  • Bone Marrow Cells
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Inhibins / physiology
  • Mammals
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Nervous System / cytology
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / physiology*


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Inhibins