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. The members of this family are regulators of cell growth and;differentiation in both embryonic and adult tissues. Studies in rodents suggest that this protein is involved in the;establishment of left-right asymmetry in early embryogenesis and in neural development in later embryogenesis. This;protein is transcribed from a bicistronic mRNA that also encodes the longevity assurance gene.