Molecular Genetics of Skeletal Morphogenesis
DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4615-5115-7_2 In book: Osteoporosis: Genetics, Prevention and Treatment, pp.7-23
Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms that control growth, patterning and repair of skeletal tissues has increased
greatly in the past few years. An emerging paradigm is that signals important for embryonic skeletal formation are also utilized
by adult organisms to regulate skeletal homeostasis. Current research has shown that bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play
an important role in these processes. BMPs are widely expressed in developing skeletal structures and mutations in individual
BMP genes block early events in skeletal morphogenesis at specific anatomical sites. Based on available information, it seems
likely that different members of the BMP gene family have evolved to control the formation of distinct sets of skeletal structures.
This chapter will focus on BMPs because of their central role in bone formation. We will describe our current understanding
of osteogenic BMP proteins, the BMP signaling pathway, and also discuss the interactions of BMPs with other developmental
molecules that play important roles in skeletal morphogenesis. We will also speculate about the regulation of BMPs by agents
that are known effectors of bone mass in adults, thus defining a potential role for BMPs in adult skeletal homeostasis.
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