While many transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) superfamily ligands such as TGFβ, activin, and the bone morphogenic proteins (BMPs) are critical to the control of growth, differentiation, and cell fate, inhibin has a more limited role and is primarily responsible for the regulation of one hormone from one cell-type in the anterior pituitary. Inhibin is an endocrine hormone, produced by the gonads, that inhibits follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) release from the pituitary gonadotrope. The other hormones in the superfamily do not appear to act in an endocrine fashion, but rather control cell function in a paracrine or autocrine manner. Many components of the TGFβ/activin/BMP signal transduction pathway have been elegantly defined; however, the mechanism of inhibin action has not been completely dissected. Several cell surface proteins that associate with inhibin have been identified recently, and these molecules may provide the clues necessary to understand how inhibin regulates reproductive function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology