ABSTRACT: Runx2 has been identified as "a master gene" for the differentiation of osteoblasts and Runx2-deficient mice has demonstrated a complete absence of mature osteoblast and ossification. To further characterize the Runx2 responsive elements within the bone sialoprotein (BSP) promoter and further investigate into the role of Runx2 haploinsufficiency in osteoblast differentiation, mBSP9.0Luc mice and mBSP4.8Luc mice were crossed with Runx2-deficient mice respectively. Luciferase assay, micro CT scan, and histological analysis were performed using tissues isolated from mBSP9.0luc/Runx2+/- mice, mBSP4.8luc/Runx2+/- mice and their corresponding Runx2+/+ littermates. Alkaline phosphatase activity, mineralization assays and RT-PCR analysis using calvarial osteoblasts isolated from these transgenic mice were also performed. Luciferase assay demonstrated an early increase in luciferase expression in mBSP9.0luc/Runx2+/- mice before the expression level of luciferase dramatically decreased and turned lower than that in their control littermates in later stages. In contrast, luciferase expression in mBSP4.8luc/Runx2+/- failed to show such an early increase. Micro CT scan and histological analysis showed that BMD and trabecular bone volume were decreased and bone formation was delayed in Runx2+/- mice. Furthermore, mineralization assay and semi-quantitative RT-PCR assay demonstrated a gene-dose-dependent decrease in bone nodule formation and bone marker genes expression levels in cultured calvarial osteoblasts derived from Runx2 knockout mice. Reconstitution of Runx2-null cells with Runx2 vector partially rescued the osteoblast function defects. In conclusion, the 9.0 kb BSP promoter demonstrated a higher tissue-specific regulation of the BSP gene by Runx2 in vivo and full Runx2 gene dose is essential for osteoblast differentiation and normal bone formation.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 06/2008; 217(1):40-7. · 3.87 Impact Factor