Evolution of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily

D W Burt, A S Law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) is the prototype of an increasingly complex superfamily of growth and differentiation factors. To date, a total of 74 TGF-beta-like sequences have been published, probably representing 23 distinct genes. These sequences were obtained from mammalian, avian, amphibian and insect species, thus emphasising the ancient nature of the TGF-beta superfamily peptides. This article summarises current hypotheses concerning the evolutionary history of this protein superfamily, based on the molecular phylogeny of the published sequences. Comparison of the deduced amino acid sequences leads to the definition of five main groups within the superfamily (TGF-beta, Bone Morphogenetic Proteins [BMP], Anti-Müllerian Hormone [AMH], Inhibin alpha [INH alpha] and GDF-9) and six subgroups within the BMPs (60A, Decapentaplegic [dpp], Vg1, BMP-3, Inhibin beta [INH beta A/B] and nodal). This classification predicts possible phylogenetic and functional relationships among these proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-118
Number of pages20
JournalProgress in growth factor research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta/genetics


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