Growth differentiation factor
Growth differentiation factors (GDFs) are a subfamily of proteins belonging 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 have functions predominantly in development.


Several members of this subfamily have been described, and named GDF1 through GDF15.
  • GDF1
    Growth differentiation factor-1 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the GDF1 gene.GDF1 belongs to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily that has a role in left-right patterning and mesoderm induction during embryonic development. It is found in the brain, spinal cord and peripheral...

     is expressed chiefly in the nervous system
    Nervous system
    The nervous system is an organ system containing a network of specialized cells called neurons that coordinate the actions of an animal and transmit signals between different parts of its body. In most animals the nervous system consists of two parts, central and peripheral. The central nervous...

     and functions in left-right patterning and mesoderm
    In all bilaterian animals, the mesoderm is one of the three primary germ cell layers in the very early embryo. The other two layers are the ectoderm and endoderm , with the mesoderm as the middle layer between them.The mesoderm forms mesenchyme , mesothelium, non-epithelial blood corpuscles and...

     induction during embryonic development.
  • GDF2
    Growth differentiation factor 2 also known as bone morphogenetic protein -9 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the GDF2 gene...

     (also known as BMP9) induces and maintains the response embryonic basal forebrain cholinergic neurons (BFCN) have to a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine
    The chemical compound acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter in both the peripheral nervous system and central nervous system in many organisms including humans...

    , and regulates iron metabolism by increasing levels of a protein called hepcidin
    Hepcidin is a peptide hormone produced by the liver. It was discovered in 2000, and appears to be the master regulator of iron homeostasis in humans and other mammals. In humans, HAMP is the gene that encodes for hepcidin.-Structure:...

  • GDF3
    Growth differentiation factor-3 , also known as Vg-related gene 2 is protein that in humans is encoded by the GDF3 gene. GDF3 belongs to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily...

     is also known as "Vg-related gene 2" (Vgr-2). Expression of GDF3 occurs in ossifying
    Ossification is the process of laying down new bone material by cells called osteoblasts. It is synonymous with bone tissue formation...

    Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

     during embryonic development and in the thymus
    The thymus is a specialized organ of the immune system. The thymus produces and "educates" T-lymphocytes , which are critical cells of the adaptive immune system....

    , spleen
    The spleen is an organ found in virtually all vertebrate animals with important roles in regard to red blood cells and the immune system. In humans, it is located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen. It removes old red blood cells and holds a reserve of blood in case of hemorrhagic shock...

    , bone marrow
    Bone marrow
    Bone marrow is the flexible tissue found in the interior of bones. In humans, bone marrow in large bones produces new blood cells. On average, bone marrow constitutes 4% of the total body mass of humans; in adults weighing 65 kg , bone marrow accounts for approximately 2.6 kg...

    The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few primitive invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, sea squirts and starfishes do not have one. It is located in the head, usually close to primary sensory apparatus such as vision, hearing,...

    , and adipose tissue
    Adipose tissue
    In histology, adipose tissue or body fat or fat depot or just fat is loose connective tissue composed of adipocytes. It is technically composed of roughly only 80% fat; fat in its solitary state exists in the liver and muscles. Adipose tissue is derived from lipoblasts...

     of adults. It has a dual nature of function; it both inhibits and induces early stages of development in embryos.
  • GDF5
    Growth/differentiation factor 5 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the GDF5 gene.Growth differentiation factor 5 is a protein belonging to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily that is expressed in the developing central nervous system, and has a role in skeletal and joint...

     is expressed in the developing central nervous system
    Central nervous system
    The central nervous system is the part of the nervous system that integrates the information that it receives from, and coordinates the activity of, all parts of the bodies of bilaterian animals—that is, all multicellular animals except sponges and radially symmetric animals such as jellyfish...

    , with roles in the development of joints and the skeleton, and increasing the survival of neurones that respond to a neurotransmitter
    Neurotransmitters are endogenous chemicals that transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across a synapse. Neurotransmitters are packaged into synaptic vesicles clustered beneath the membrane on the presynaptic side of a synapse, and are released into the synaptic cleft, where they bind to...

     called dopamine
    Dopamine is a catecholamine neurotransmitter present in a wide variety of animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the brain, this substituted phenethylamine functions as a neurotransmitter, activating the five known types of dopamine receptors—D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5—and their...

  • GDF6
    Growth differentiation factor 6 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the GDF6 gene.belonging to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily that may regulate patterning of the ectoderm by interacting with bone morphogenetic proteins, and control eye development....

     interacts with bone morphogenetic protein
    Bone morphogenetic protein
    Bone morphogenetic proteins are a group of growth factors also known as cytokines and as metabologens . Originally discovered by their ability to induce the formation of bone and cartilage, BMPs are now considered to constitute a group of pivotal morphogenetic signals, orchestrating tissue...

    s to regulate ectoderm
    The "ectoderm" is one of the three primary germ cell layers in the very early embryo. The other two layers are the mesoderm and endoderm , with the ectoderm as the most exterior layer...

     patterning, and controls eye development.
  • GDF8 is now officially known as myostatin
    Myostatin is a secreted TGF beta protein family member that inhibits muscle differentiation and growth. Myostatin is produced primarily in skeletal muscle cells, circulates in the blood and acts on muscle tissue, by binding a cell-bound receptor called the activin type II receptor...

     and controls the growth of muscle
    Muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to...

  • GDF9, like GDF3, lacks one cysteine relative to other members of the TGF-β superfamily. Its gene expression is limited to the ovaries
    The ovary is an ovum-producing reproductive organ, often found in pairs as part of the vertebrate female reproductive system. Ovaries in anatomically female individuals are analogous to testes in anatomically male individuals, in that they are both gonads and endocrine glands.-Human anatomy:Ovaries...

    , and it has a role in ovulation
    Ovulation is the process in a female's menstrual cycle by which a mature ovarian follicle ruptures and discharges an ovum . Ovulation also occurs in the estrous cycle of other female mammals, which differs in many fundamental ways from the menstrual cycle...

  • GDF10
    Growth differentiation factor 10 also known as bone morphogenetic protein 3B is a protein that in humans is encoded by the GDF10 gene....

     is closely related to BMP3
    Bone morphogenetic protein 3
    Bone morphogenetic protein 3 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the BMP3 gene.The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the transforming growth factor beta superfamily. It, like other bone morphogenetic proteins is known for its ability to induce bone and cartilage development. It is...

     and has a roles in head formation and, it is presumed, in skeletal morphogenesis
    Morphogenesis , is the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape...

    . It is also known as BMP-3b.
  • GDF11
    Growth differentiation factor 11 also known as bone morphogenetic protein 11 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the GDF11 gene....

     controls anterior-posterior patterning by regulating the expression of Hox genes, and regulates the number of olfactory receptor
    Olfactory receptor
    Olfactory receptors expressed in the cell membranes of olfactory receptor neurons are responsible for the detection of odor molecules. Activated olfactory receptors are the initial player in a signal transduction cascade which ultimately produces a nerve impulse which is transmitted to the brain...

     neurons occurring in the olfactory epithelium
    Olfactory epithelium
    The olfactory epithelium is a specialized epithelial tissue inside the nasal cavity that is involved in smell. In humans, it measures about 1 square centimetre and lies on the roof of the nasal cavity about 7 cm above and behind the nostrils...

    , and numbers of retinal ganglion
    In anatomy, a ganglion is a biological tissue mass, most commonly a mass of nerve cell bodies. Cells found in a ganglion are called ganglion cells, though this term is also sometimes used to refer specifically to retinal ganglion cells....

    ic cells developing in the retina
    The vertebrate retina is a light-sensitive tissue lining the inner surface of the eye. The optics of the eye create an image of the visual world on the retina, which serves much the same function as the film in a camera. Light striking the retina initiates a cascade of chemical and electrical...

  • GDF15
    Growth differentiation factor 15 is a protein belonging to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily that has a role in regulating inflammatory and apoptotic pathways in injured tissues and during disease processes. GDF15 is also known as TGF-PL, MIC-1, PDF, PLAB, and PTGFB. GDF15 mRNA is...

     (also known as TGF-PL, MIC-1, PDF, PLAB, and PTGFB) has a role in regulating inflammatory
    Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process...

     and apoptotic
    Apoptosis is the process of programmed cell death that may occur in multicellular organisms. Biochemical events lead to characteristic cell changes and death. These changes include blebbing, cell shrinkage, nuclear fragmentation, chromatin condensation, and chromosomal DNA fragmentation...

     pathways during tissue injury and certain disease
    A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...


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