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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2000 Mar-Jun;11(1-2):49-58.

Functions of mammalian Smad genes as revealed by targeted gene disruption in mice.

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  • 1Genetics of Development and Disease Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 10/9N105, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The Smad genes are the intracellular mediators of TGF-beta signals. Targeted mutagenesis in mice has yielded valuable new insights into the functions of this important gene family. These experiments have shown that Smad2 and Smad4 are needed for gastrulation, Smad5 for angiogenesis, and Smad3 for establishment of the mucosal immune response and proper development of the skeleton. In addition, these experiments have shown us the importance of gene dosage in this family, as several of its members yielded haploinsufficiency phenotypes. These include gastrulation and craniofacial defects for Smad2, accelerated wound healing for Smad3, and the incidence of gastric cancer for Smad4. Combinatorial genetics has also revealed functions of Smads in left/right isomerism and liver development.

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