TGFbeta/BMP type I receptors ALK1 and ALK2 are essential for BMP9-induced osteogenic signaling in mesenchymal stem cells

Jinyong Luo, Min Tang, Jiayi Huang, Bai-Cheng He, Jian-Li Gao, Liang Chen, Guo-Wei Zuo, Wenli Zhang, Qing Luo, Qiong Shi, Bing-Qiang Zhang, Yang Bi, Xiaoji Luo, Wei Jiang, Yuxi Su, Jikun Shen, Stephanie H Kim, Enyi Huang, Yanhong Gao, Jian-Zhong Zhou, Ke Yang, Hue H Luu, Xiaochuan Pan, Rex C Haydon, Zhong-Liang Deng, Tong-Chuan He
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2010 September 17, 285 (38): 29588-98
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are bone marrow stromal cells that can differentiate into multiple lineages. We previously demonstrated that BMP9 is one of the most potent BMPs to induce osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. BMP9 is one of the least studied BMPs. Whereas ALK1, ALK5, and/or endoglin have recently been reported as potential BMP9 type I receptors in endothelial cells, little is known about type I receptor involvement in BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation in MSCs. Here, we conduct a comprehensive analysis of the functional role of seven type I receptors in BMP9-induced osteogenic signaling in MSCs. We have found that most of the seven type I receptors are expressed in MSCs. However, using dominant-negative mutants for the seven type I receptors, we demonstrate that only ALK1 and ALK2 mutants effectively inhibit BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation in vitro and ectopic ossification in MSC implantation assays. Protein fragment complementation assays demonstrate that ALK1 and ALK2 directly interact with BMP9. Likewise, RNAi silencing of ALK1 and ALK2 expression inhibits BMP9-induced BMPR-Smad activity and osteogenic differentiation in MSCs both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, our results strongly suggest that ALK1 and ALK2 may play an important role in mediating BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation. These findings should further aid us in understanding the molecular mechanism through which BMP9 regulates osteogenic differentiation of MSCs.

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