Regulation and regulatory activities of transforming growth factor β

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

101 Scopus citations


Transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) is unique among growth factors in its potent and widespread actions. Almost every cell in the body has been shown to make some form of TGFβ, and almost every cell has receptors for TGFβ. Therefore, it becomes apparent that this growth factor must be tightly regulated to prevent disease. The mechanisms of regulation of TGFβ are extensive and complex. One set of mechanisms centers around the fact that TGFβ is produced in a latent form that must be activated to produce biologically active TGFβ. These mechanisms include the latency of the molecule, the production of various latent forms, its targeting to cells for activation or to matrix for storage, and the means of activation of the latent forms. The TGFβ isoforms and the types, affinity, and signaling functions of its receptors also add complexity to the regulation of the effects of TGFβ. Active TGFβ regulates numerous processes in the body. TGFβ has three major biological effects: growth inhibition, stimulation of extracellular matrix formation, and immunosuppression. The means by which TGFβ regulates the expression of the numerous genes on which it has effects are complex and more information is needed. The means by which TGFβ regulates gene expression and the means by which the actions of TGFβ are regulated are addressed in this review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Reviews in Eukaryotic Gene Expression
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Fibrosis
  • Latency
  • Latent TGFβ binding protein
  • Osteoporosis
  • TGFβ receptors
  • Transforming growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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