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Concept: Bone morphogenetic protein


Thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT) is fundamental to energy balance and is also relevant for humans. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) regulate adipogenesis, and, here, we describe a role for BMP8B in the direct regulation of thermogenesis. BMP8B is induced by nutritional and thermogenic factors in mature BAT, increasing the response to noradrenaline through enhanced p38MAPK/CREB signaling and increased lipase activity. Bmp8b(-/-) mice exhibit impaired thermogenesis and reduced metabolic rate, causing weight gain despite hypophagia. BMP8B is also expressed in the hypothalamus, and Bmp8b(-/-) mice display altered neuropeptide levels and reduced phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), indicating an anorexigenic state. Central BMP8B treatment increased sympathetic activation of BAT, dependent on the status of AMPK in key hypothalamic nuclei. Our results indicate that BMP8B is a thermogenic protein that regulates energy balance in partnership with hypothalamic AMPK. BMP8B may offer a mechanism to specifically increase energy dissipation by BAT.

Concepts: Leptin, Adiponectin, Brown adipose tissue, Signal transduction, Enzyme, Bone morphogenetic protein, Adenosine triphosphate, Metabolism


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are multifunctional growth factors that play crucial roles during embryonic development and cell fate determination. Nuclear transduction of BMP signals requires the receptor type Smad proteins, Smad1, Smad5 and Smad9. However, how these Smad proteins cooperate in vivo to regulate various developmental processes is largely unknown. In zebrafish, it was widely believed that the maternally expressed smad5 is essential for dorso-ventral (DV) patterning, and the zygotically transcribed smad1 is not required for normal DV axis establishment. In the present study, we have identified zygotically expressed smad9, which cooperates with smad1 downstream of smad5, to mediate zebrafish early DV patterning in a functional redundant manner. Although knockdown of smad1 or smad9 alone does not lead to visible dorsalization, double knockdown strongly dorsalizes zebrafish embryos, which cannot be efficiently rescued by smad5 overexpression. While the dorsalization induced by smad5 knockdown can be fully rescued by overexpression of smad1 or smad9. We have further revealed that the transcription initiation of smad1 or smad9 is repressed by each other and they are direct transcriptional targets of Smad5, and smad9 is required for myelopoiesis as smad1. In conclusion, our study uncovers that smad1 and smad9 act redundantly to each other downstream of smad5 to mediate ventral specification and to regulate embryonic myelopoiesis.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Bone morphogenetic protein, Protein, Transcription factors, Gene expression, Mothers against decapentaplegic, R-SMAD, SMAD


Cyanoacrylate has been used as a commercial tissue adhesive. Recently, ethyl 2-cyanoacrylate has been suggested for the fixation of onlay autogenous bone graft. However, ethyl 2-cyanoacrylate must be biocompatible with bone tissue. This study evaluated the cytotoxicity of cyanoacrylate adhesives using a direct contact assay on human oral osteoblast cells.

Concepts: Bone morphogenetic protein, Adhesives, Bone, Bone grafting, Adhesive, Cytotoxicity, Cell, Cyanoacrylate


BACKGROUND: The Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are growth factors involved in the folliculogenesis. Alteration in their expression may compromise the reproductive process in disease such as the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The present study investigated the expression and role of granulosa cell BMP from normal cycling and PCOS women. METHODS AND RESULTS: This prospective study was performed in granulosa cells obtained from 14 patients undergoing IVF : (i) 6 women with normal ovulatory cycles and tubal or male infertility and (ii) 8 women with PCOS. BMP-2, BMP-4, BMP-5, BMP-6, BMP-7 and BMP-8A, and their receptors BMPR-IA, BMPR-IB and BMPR-II were identified by RT-PCR in granulosa cells from normally cycling and PCOS women. BMP-4, 6 and 7 expression were confirmed by immunohistochemistry, Quantitative transcript analysis showed the predominant expression of BMP-6. In granulosa cells from PCOS women, an over-expression of BMP-6 (p<0.01) and BMPR-IA mRNA (p<0.05) were observed. Granulosa cell culture experiments demonstrated that basal estradiol (E2) production was 3-fold higher but FSH-induced E2 increment 2-fold lower in PCOS compared to controls. In PCOS, BMP-6 and 7 exerted a stimulatory effect on basal E2 production while BMP-4 and 6 inhibited FSH-induced E2 production. FSH receptor and aromatase expression were not different between both groups. CONCLUSION: The BMP system is expressed in human granulosa cells from normal cycling and PCOS women. The BMP may be involved in reproductive abnormalities found in PCOS.

Concepts: Folliculogenesis, Signal transduction, Anovulation, Polycystic ovary syndrome, Protein, Bone morphogenetic protein, Granulosa cells, Menstrual cycle


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are the most potent osteoinductive growth factors. However, a delivery system is essential to take advantage of the osteoinductive effect of BMPs. The purpose of this study was to develop a sustained delivery system for recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2). We covalently attached heparin to a cross-linked collagen type I coated tricalciumphosphate/hydroxyapatite (TCP/HA) bone substitute and subsequently loaded it with BMP-2. To systematically evaluate the contribution of each component with respect to the binding and release of BMP-2, six constructs were prepared and characterized: TCP/HA, TCP/HA with collagen (TCP/HACol), and TCP/HA with collagen and heparin (TCP/HAColHep) with and without BMP-2 (B). More BMP-2 bound to the TCP/HAColHep + B (92.9 ± 4.8 ng BMP-2/mg granule) granules as compared to the TCP/HACol + B (69.0 ± 9.6 ng BMP-2/mg granule) and TCP/HA + B granules (62.9 ± 5.4 ng BMP-2/mg granule). No difference in release pattern was found between the TCP/HA + B and TCP/HACol + B granules. Up to day 14, BMP-2 was still bound to the TCP/HAColHep + B granules, whereas most BMP had been released from TCP/HACol + B and TCP/HA + B granules at that time. After 21 days most BMP-2 also had been released from the TCP/HAColHep + B granules. The local and sustained delivery system for BMP-2 developed in this study may be useful as a carrier for BMP-2 and could possibly enhance bone regeneration efficacy for the treatment of large bone defects.

Concepts: Developmental biology, BMP-2, Release, Type-I collagen, Bone, Bone morphogenetic protein 2, Bone morphogenetic protein, Collagen


Bone grafts are commonly used for the treatment of segmental bone defects and fracture non-unions. Recently, osseous particles obtained during intermedullary canal reaming (using a Reamer-Irrigator-Aspirator (RIA) device) have been evaluated as graft material during in vitro and clinical studies. The aim of this study was to evaluate and quantify new bone formation after implantation of bone graft material obtained after reaming of the tibia in a bilateral critical-sized iliac wing defect in sheep and to investigate the effect of the augmentation of this graft. A reamer bone graft alone, or after short term incubation in a dexamethasone enriched solution, and a reamer graft collected using beta-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) granules in the filter of the RIA collection device were compared to autologous iliac wing graft. In addition, reamer graft was combined with the cellular fraction collected from the irrigation fluid with and without short-term incubation in a dexamethasone enriched solution. It was hypothesized that the amount of physical bone in the reamer bone graft groups would be higher than the amount in the autologous iliac wing graft group and that augmentation of a reamer bone graft would increase bone formation. Three months after implantation, the amount of new bone formation (as percentage of the total defect volume) in the defects was evaluated ex-vivo by means of micro-CT and histomorphometry. The mean amount of bone in the autologous iliac wing graft group was 17.7% and 16.8% for micro-CT and histomorphometry, respectively. The mean amount of bone in all reamer graft groups ranged between 20.4 - 29.2% (micro-CT) and 17.0 - 25.4% (histomorphometry). Reamer graft collected using β-TCP granules (29.2 ± 1.7%) in the filter produced a significantly higher amount of bone in comparison to an autologous iliac wing graft evaluated by micro-CT. RIA bone grafts added a small increase in bone volume to the 3 month graft volume in this preclinical sheep model. The current model does not support the use of short-term high concentration dexamethasone for augmentation of a graft volume. If avoidance of an iliac wing graft is desirable, or a reaming procedure is required, then a RIA graft or RIA graft plus β-TCP granules are as good as the current gold standard for this model. HIGHLGIHTS: We investigated bone formation in a sheep iliac wing model using a RIA bone graft Augmentation with beta-tricalcium biphosphonate granules increases bone formation Other augmentation techniques showed no significant difference.

Concepts: Arithmetic mean, Surgery, Bone fracture, Gold standard, Bone morphogenetic protein, Artificial bone, Orthopedic surgery, Bone grafting


BMP signaling plays a crucial role in the establishment of the dorso-ventral body axis in bilaterally symmetric animals. However, the topologies of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling networks vary drastically in different animal groups, raising questions about the evolutionary constraints and evolvability of BMP signaling systems. Using loss-of-function analysis and mathematical modeling, we show that two signaling centers expressing different BMPs and BMP antagonists maintain the secondary axis of the sea anemone Nematostella. We demonstrate that BMP signaling is required for asymmetric Hox gene expression and mesentery formation. Computational analysis reveals that network parameters related to BMP4 and Chordin are constrained both in Nematostella and Xenopus, while those describing the BMP signaling modulators can vary significantly. Notably, only chordin, but not bmp4 expression needs to be spatially restricted for robust signaling gradient formation. Our data provide an explanation of the evolvability of BMP signaling systems in axis formation throughout Eumetazoa.

Concepts: Sea anemone, Genetics, Gene, DNA, Animal, Bone morphogenetic protein, Evolution, Developmental biology


Organ growth is controlled by patterning signals that operate locally (e.g., Wingless/Ints [Wnts], Bone Morphogenetic Proteins [BMPs], and Hedgehogs [Hhs]) and scaled by nutrient-dependent signals that act systemically (e.g., Insulin-like peptides [ILPs] transduced by the Target of Rapamycin [TOR] pathway). How cells integrate these distinct inputs to generate organs of the appropriate size and shape is largely unknown. The transcriptional coactivator Yorkie (Yki, a YES-Associated Protein, or YAP) acts downstream of patterning morphogens and other tissue-intrinsic signals to promote organ growth. Yki activity is regulated primarily by the Warts/Hippo (Wts/Hpo) tumour suppressor pathway, which impedes nuclear access of Yki by a cytoplasmic tethering mechanism. Here, we show that the TOR pathway regulates Yki by a separate and novel mechanism in the Drosophila wing. Instead of controlling Yki nuclear access, TOR signaling governs Yki action after it reaches the nucleus by allowing it to gain access to its target genes. When TOR activity is inhibited, Yki accumulates in the nucleus but is sequestered from its normal growth-promoting target genes-a phenomenon we term “nuclear seclusion.” Hence, we posit that in addition to its well-known role in stimulating cellular metabolism in response to nutrients, TOR also promotes wing growth by liberating Yki from nuclear seclusion, a parallel pathway that we propose contributes to the scaling of wing size with nutrient availability.

Concepts: Nutrition, Cytosol, Cell nucleus, Bone morphogenetic protein, DNA, Cell, Gene, Protein


The gain of eccrine sweat glands in hairy body skin has empowered humans to run marathons and tolerate temperature extremes. Epithelial-mesenchymal cross-talk is integral to the diverse patterning of skin appendages, but the molecular events underlying their specification remain largely unknown. Using genome-wide analyses and functional studies, we show that sweat glands are specified by mesenchymal-derived bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and fibroblast growth factors that signal to epithelial buds and suppress epithelial-derived sonic hedgehog (SHH) production. Conversely, hair follicles are specified when mesenchymal BMP signaling is blocked, permitting SHH production. Fate determination is confined to a critical developmental window and is regionally specified in mice. In contrast, a shift from hair to gland fates is achieved in humans when a spike in BMP silences SHH during the final embryonic wave(s) of bud morphogenesis.

Concepts: Skin, Fibroblast growth factor, Hair follicle, Bone morphogenetic protein, Hair, Epithelium, Sonic hedgehog, Developmental biology


Neural crest cells (NCC) are stem cells that generate different lineages, including neuroendocrine, melanocytic, cartilage, and bone. The differentiation potential of NCC varies according to the level from which cells emerge along the neural tube. For example, only anterior “cranial” NCC form craniofacial bone, whereas solely posterior “trunk” NCC contribute to sympathoadrenal cells. Importantly, the isolation of human fetal NCC carries ethical and scientific challenges, as NCC induction typically occur before pregnancy is detectable. As a result, current knowledge of NCC biology derives primarily from non-human organisms. Important differences between human and non-human NCC, such as expression of HNK1 in human but not mouse NCC, suggest a need to study human NCC directly. Here, we demonstrate that current protocols to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells (PSC) to NCC are biased toward cranial NCC. Addition of retinoic acid drove trunk-related markers and HOX genes characteristic of a posterior identity. Subsequent treatment with bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) enhanced differentiation to sympathoadrenal cells. Our approach provides methodology for detailed studies of human NCC, and clarifies roles for retinoids and BMPs in the differentiation of human PSC to trunk NCC and to sympathoadrenal lineages.

Concepts: Gene, Bone morphogenetic protein, Embryo, Gene expression, DNA, Cellular differentiation, Stem cell, Developmental biology