TGFB superfamily members as regulators of B cell development and function-implications for autoimmunity
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The TGF superfamily is composed of more than 33 growth and differentiation factors, including TGF 1, 2, 3, BMPs, GDFs, nodal-related proteins, and activins. These members usually exert pleiotropic actions on several tissues and control multiple cellular processes, such as cell growth, cell survival, cell migration, cell fate specification, and differentiation, both during embryonic development and postnatal life. Although the effects of these factors on immune responses were elucidated long ago, most studies have been focused on the actions of TGF s on T cells, as major regulators of adaptive immunity. In this review, we discuss new findings about the involvement of TGF superfamily members in the control of B cell development and function. Moreover, the potential contribution of TGF signaling to control B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases and its utility in the design of new therapies are also discussed.