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Cloning and characterization of a novel WD-40 repeat protein that dramatically accelerates osteoblastic differentiation.

Gori F., Divieti P., Demay M.B.

The bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play a pivotal role in endochondral bone formation. Using differential display polymerase chain reaction, we have identified a novel gene, named BIG-3 (BMP-2-induced gene 3 kb), that is induced as a murine prechondroblastic cell line, MLB13MYC clone 17, acquires osteoblastic features in response to BMP-2 treatment. The 3-kilobase mRNA encodes a 34-kDa protein containing seven WD-40 repeats. Northern and Western analyses demonstrated that BIG-3 mRNA and protein were induced after 24 h of BMP-2 treatment. BIG-3 mRNA was expressed in conditionally immortalized murine bone marrow stromal cells, osteoblasts, osteocytes, and growth plate chondrocytes, as well as in primary calvarial osteoblasts. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that BIG-3 was expressed in the osteoblasts of calvariae isolated from mouse embryos. To identify a role for BIG-3 in osteoblast differentiation, MC3T3-E1 cells were stably transfected with the full-length coding region of BIG-3 (MC3T3E1-BIG-3) cloned downstream of a cytomegalovirus promoter in pcDNA3.1. Pooled MC3T3E1-BIG-3 clones expressed alkaline phosphatase activity earlier and achieved a peak level of activity 10-fold higher than cells transfected with the empty vector (MC3T3E1-EV) at 14 days. Cyclic AMP production in response to parathyroid hormone was increased 10- and 14-fold at 7 and 14 days, respectively, in MC3T3E1-BIG-3 clones, relative to MC3T3E1-EV clones. This increase in cAMP production was associated with an increase in PTH binding. Expression of BIG-3 increased mRNA levels encoding Cbfa1, type I collagen, and osteocalcin and accelerated formation of mineralized nodules. In conclusion, we have identified a novel WD-40 protein, induced by BMP-2 treatment, that dramatically accelerates the program of osteoblastic differentiation in stably transfected MC3T3E1 cells.

J. Biol. Chem. 276:46515-46522(2001) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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