This gene encodes a member of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family and the TGF-beta superfamily. This group of proteins is characterized by a polybasic proteolytic processing site that is cleaved to produce a mature protein containing seven conserved cysteine residues. Members of this family are regulators of cell growth and differentiation in both embryonic and adult tissues. Studies in yeast suggest that the encoded protein is involved in aging. This protein is transcribed from a monocistronic mRNA as well as a bicistronic mRNA, which also encodes growth differentiation factor 1.