GDF-5 is 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 which 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. Mutations in this gene are associated with acromesomelic dysplasia, Hunter-Thompson type; brachydactyly, type C; and chondrodysplasia, Grebe type. These associations confirm that the gene product plays a role in skeletal development.