TGF-β Superfamily Signaling and Left-Right Asymmetry

Science's STKE  09 Jan 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 64, pp. re1
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.64.re1

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The invariant left-right asymmetry of visceral organs in higher chordates depends on signal transduction initiated by the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily of secreted proteins during early embryogenesis. TGF-β proteins are well known for their roles in numerous other developmental processes, including the specification of dorsoventral pattern. This review discusses current knowledge of the regulatory hierarchies that ensure invariant left-right asymmetry as well as the potential mechanisms that permit a common set of signaling proteins to specify pattern along both the left-right and dorsoventral body axes.