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TGF-β: A Survey of Signaling in Health and Disease

Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-β) constitutes a superfamily of cytokines – a class of intercellular signaling molecules in some ways similar to hormones – deployed across the animal kingdom by most cell types to facilitate cellular communication. During the 1970s, in the midst of a broad attempt to identify proteins involved in tumorigenesis – what was at the time described as “transformation” and defined as in vitro anchorage-independent growth (1) – TGF-β was identified as one of two polypeptides, along with TGF-α, responsible for inducing rat kidney fibroblast culture growth in soft agar conditions (4). Continue reading