TGF-beta superfamily ligands play fundamental roles in the development and physiology of diverse animal species. Genetic and genomic analyses in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans have contributed to the understanding of TGF-beta -related signal transduction mechanisms. In this chapter, I describe the currently characterized TGF-beta -related signals and signal transduction cassettes in C. elegans. Homology searches of the genome identify five TGF-beta -related genes, for which functions have been identified for three. Two of the TGF-beta -related genes, daf-7
, function through conventional signaling pathways. These signaling pathways are comprised of ser/thr kinase receptors, Smads, and transcription co-factors. A third TGF-beta -related gene, unc-129
, functions in axonal guidance using novel signaling mechanisms. Thus, TGF-beta -related signaling in C. elegans proceeds via both conserved and novel paradigms that can inform studies in other animal systems.