Assessment of gene regulation by bone morphogenetic protein 2 in human marrow stromal cells using gene array technology

R. M. Locklin, B. L. Riggs, K. C. Hicok, H. F. Horton, M. C. Byrne, S. Khosla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Marrow stromal cells can differentiate into osteoblasts, adipocytes, myoblasts, and chondrocytes. Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) is a potent stimulator of osteoblastic differentiation, and identification of the genes regulated by BMP-2 in these cells should provide insight into the mechanism(s) of osteoblastic differentiation. Thus, we used a conditionally immortalized human marrow stromal cell line (hMS) and a gene expression microarray containing probes for a total of 6800 genes to compare gene expression in control and BMP-2-treated cultures. A total of 51 genes showed a consistent change in messenger RNA (mRNA) frequency between two repeat experiments. Seventeen of these genes showed a change in expression of at least 3-fold in BMP-2-treated cultures over control cultures. These included nuclear binding factors (10 genes), signal transduction pathway genes (2 genes), molecular transport (1 gene), cell surface proteins (2 genes) and growth factors (2 genes). Of particular interest were four of the nuclear binding factor genes ID-1, ID-2, ID-3, and ID-4. These encode dominant negative helix-loop-helix (dnHLH) proteins that lack the nuclear binding domain of the basic HLH proteins and thus have no transcriptional activity. They have been implicated in blocking both myogenesis and adipogenesis. Other transcription factors up-regulated at least 3-fold by BMP-2 included Dlx-2, HES-1, STAT1, and JunB. The changes in these nuclear binding factor mRNA levels were confirmed by real-time reverse-transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). A further three transcription factors, core binding factor β (CBFβ), AREB6, and SOX4, showed changes in expression of between 2- and 3-fold with BMP-2 treatment. In summary, we have used a gene chip microarray to identify a number of BMP-2 responsive genes in hMS cells. Thus, these studies provide potential candidate genes that may induce osteoblastic differentiation or, in the case of the ID proteins, block differentiation along alternate pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2192-2204
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2001


  • Bone morphogenetic protein 2
  • Gene array
  • Osteoblasts
  • Stromal cells
  • Transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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