The TGF-β superfamily is an ancient metazoan protein class which cuts across cell and tissue differentiation, developmental biology and immunology. Its many members are regulated at multiple levels from intricate control of gene transcription, post-translational processing and activation, and signaling through overlapping receptor structures and downstream intracellular messengers. We have been interested in TGF-β homologues firstly as key players in the induction of immunological tolerance, the topic so closely associated with Ray Owen. Secondly, our interests in how parasites may manipulate the immune system of their host has also brought us to study the TGF-β pathway in infections with longlived, essentially tolerogenic, helminth parasites. Finally, within the spectrum of mammalian TGF-β proteins is an exquisitely tightly-regulated gene, anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), whose role in sex determination underpins the phenotype of freemartin calves that formed the focus of Ray's seminal work on immunological tolerance.
- Transforming growth factor