Growth differentiation factor 7 (GDF7) is a protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

 that in humans is encoded by the GDF7 gene
A gene is a molecular unit of heredity of a living organism. It is a name given to some stretches of DNA and RNA that code for a type of protein or for an RNA chain that has a function in the organism. Living beings depend on genes, as they specify all proteins and functional RNA chains...


GDF7 belongs to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily
Transforming growth factor beta superfamily
The transforming growth factor beta superfamily is a large family of structurally related cell regulatory proteins that was named after its first member, TGF-β1, originally described in 1983....

 that is specifically found in a signaling center known as the roof plate that is located in the developing nervous system of embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

s. The roof plate is required for the generation of several classes of spinal cord
Spinal cord
The spinal cord is a long, thin, tubular bundle of nervous tissue and support cells that extends from the brain . The brain and spinal cord together make up the central nervous system...

 dorsal interneuron
An interneuron is a multipolar neuron which connects afferent neurons and efferent neurons in neural pathways...

s; GDF7 specifically induces the formation of sensory neuron
Sensory neuron
Sensory neurons are typically classified as the neurons responsible for converting external stimuli from the environment into internal stimuli. They are activated by sensory input , and send projections into the central nervous system that convey sensory information to the brain or spinal cord...

s in the dorsal spinal cord from neural crest cells by generating signals within the roof plate.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.