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Crit Rev Oral Biol Med. 2003;14(2):78-88.

TGF-beta signaling and its functional significance in regulating the fate of cranial neural crest cells.

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  • 1Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, 2250 Alcazar Street, CSA 103, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA. ychai@usc.edu


Members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily regulate cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis, and control the development and maintenance of most tissues. TGF-beta signal is transmitted through the phosphorylation of Smad proteins by TGF-beta receptor serine/threonine kinase. During craniofacial development, TGF-beta may regulate the fate specification of cranial neural crest cells. These cells are multipotent progenitors and capable of producing diverse cell types upon differentiation. Here we summarize evidence that TGF-beta ligands and their signaling intermediates have significant roles in patterning and specification of cranial neural crest cells. The biological function of TGF-beta is carried out through the regulation of transcriptional factors during embryogenesis.

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