Stephen E Harris

Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgery Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, United States

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Publications (45)198.38 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background: Although enamel matrix derivative (EMD) has demonstrated the ability to promote angiogenesis and osteogenesis both in vitro and in vivo, the specific elements within the EMD compound responsible for these effects remain unknown. Methods: Nine different protein pools comprising a commercially produced EMD were collected based on molecular weight. Six of these pools, along with the complete EMD unfractionated compound, and positive and negative controls, were tested for their ability to induce bone formation in a calvarial induction assay. Immunocytochemistry of Phospho-Smad 1/5/8, Osterix, and VegfA was carried out at selected time points. Finally, proteomic analysis was completed to determine the specific protein/peptide content of the various osteoinductive pools. Results: One of the lower molecular weight pools tested, Pool 7, showed bone induction responses significantly greater than both the other pools and the complete EMD compound and was concentration dependent. Dynamic bone formation rate analysis demonstrated that Pool 7 was optimally active at the 5-10µg concentration. We demonstrated that EMD and Pool 7 induced phospho-Smad 1/5/8, Osterix, and VegfA, indicative of increased Bmp signaling. Proteomic composition analysis demonstrated that Pool 7 had the highest concentration of the biologically active Amelogenin-LRAP and Ameloblastin 17Kd peptides. Conclusions: These studies demonstrate that the low molecular weight protein pools (17 to 7Kd) within EMD have greater osteoinductive potential than the commercially available complete EMD compound, and mechanism of action in part are through increased Bmp signaling and increased Osterix and VegfA. Selected components of EMD can now be formulated for optimum bone and angiogenesis with this information.
    Journal of Periodontology 08/2013; · 2.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Formation of the periodontium begins following onset of tooth-root formation in a coordinated manner after birth. Dental follicle progenitor cells are thought to form the cementum, alveolar bone and Sharpey's fibers of the periodontal ligament (PDL). However, little is known about the regulatory morphogens that control differentiation and function of these progenitor cells, as well as the progenitor cells involved in crown and root formation. We investigated the role of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (Bmp2) in these processes by the conditional removal of the Bmp2 gene using the Sp7-Cre-EGFP mouse model. Sp7-Cre-EGFP first becomes active at E18 in the first molar, with robust Cre activity at postnatal day 0 (P0), followed by Cre activity in the second molar, which occurs after P0. There is robust Cre activity in the periodontium and third molars by 2 weeks of age. When the Bmp2 gene is removed from Sp7(+) (Osterix(+)) cells, major defects are noted in root, cellular cementum and periodontium formation. First, there are major cell autonomous defects in root-odontoblast terminal differentiation. Second, there are major alterations in formation of the PDLs and cellular cementum, correlated with decreased nuclear factor IC (Nfic), periostin and α-SMA(+) cells. Third, there is a failure to produce vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) in the periodontium and the pulp leading to decreased formation of the microvascular and associated candidate stem cells in the Bmp2-cKO(Sp7-Cre-EGFP). Fourth, ameloblast function and enamel formation are indirectly altered in the Bmp2-cKO(Sp7-Cre-EGFP). These data demonstrate that the Bmp2 gene has complex roles in postnatal tooth development and periodontium formation.
    International Journal of Oral Science 06/2013; · 2.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteocytes, the most abundant cell population of the bone lineage, have been a major focus in the bone research field in recent years. This population of cells that resides within mineralized matrix is now thought to be the mechanosensory cell in bone and plays major roles in the regulation of bone formation and resorption. Studies of osteocytes had been impaired by their location, resulting in numerous attempts to isolate primary osteocytes and to generate cell lines representative of the osteocytic phenotype. Progress has been achieved in recent years by utilizing in vivo genetic technology and generation of osteocyte directed transgenic and gene deficiency mouse models. We will provide an overview of the current in vitro and in vivo models utilized to study osteocyte biology. We discuss generation of osteocyte-like cell lines and isolation of primary osteocytes and summarize studies that have utilized these cellular models to understand the functional role of osteocytes. Approaches that attempt to selectively identify and isolate osteocytes using fluorescent protein reporters driven by regulatory elements of genes that are highly expressed in osteocytes will be discussed. In addition, recent in vivo studies utilizing overexpression or conditional deletion of various genes using dentin matrix protein (Dmp1) directed Cre recombinase are outlined. In conclusion, evaluation of the benefits and deficiencies of currently used cell lines/genetic models in understanding osteocyte biology underlines the current progress in this field. The future efforts will be directed towards developing novel in vitro and in vivo models that would additionally facilitate in understanding the multiple roles of osteocytes. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Osteocyte.
    Bone 10/2012; · 3.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The BMP and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways cooperatively regulate osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. Although BMP signaling regulates gene expression of the Wnt pathway, much less is known about whether Wnt signaling modulates BMP expression in osteoblasts. Given the presence of putative Tcf/Lef response elements that bind β-catenin/TCF transcription complex in the BMP2 promoter, we hypothesized that the Wnt/β-catenin pathway stimulates BMP2 expression in osteogenic cells. In this study, we showed that Wnt/β-catenin signaling is active in various osteoblast or osteoblast precursor cell lines, including MC3T3-E1, 2T3, C2C12, and C3H10T1/2 cells. Furthermore, crosstalk between the BMP and Wnt pathways affected BMP signaling activity, osteoblast differentiation, and bone formation, suggesting Wnt signaling is an upstream regulator of BMP signaling. Activation of Wnt signaling by Wnt3a or overexpression of β-catenin/TCF4 both stimulated BMP2 transcription at promoter and mRNA levels. In contrast, transcription of BMP2 in osteogenic cells was decreased by either blocking the Wnt pathway with DKK1 and sFRP4, or inhibiting β-catenin/TCF4 activity with FWD1/β-TrCP, ICAT, or ΔTCF4. Using a site-directed mutagenesis approach, we confirmed that Wnt/β-catenin transactivation of BMP2 transcription is directly mediated through the Tcf/Lef response elements in the BMP2 promoter. These results, which demonstrate that the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is an upstream activator of BMP2 expression in osteoblasts, provide novel insights into the nature of functional cross talk integrating the BMP and Wnt/β-catenin pathways in osteoblastic differentiation and maintenance of skeletal homeostasis.
    Bone 09/2012; 52(1):145-156. · 3.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM) and oral diseases are closely interrelated. Poor metabolic control in diabetics is associated with a high risk of gingivitis, periodontitis and tooth loss. Salivary flow declines in diabetics and patients suffer from xerostomia. Reduced saliva predisposes to enamel hypomineralization and caries formation; however, the mechanisms that initiate and lead to progression of tooth decay and periodontitis in type 1 DM have not been explored. To address this issue, we analyzed tooth morphology in Akita ⁻/⁻ mice that harbor a point mutation in the Ins2 insulin gene, which leads to progressive hyperglycemia. Mandibles from Akita ⁻/⁻ and wild-type littermates were analyzed by microCT, scanning EM and histology; teeth were examined for amelogenin (Amel) and ameloblastin (Ambn) expression. Mice were injected with pilocarpine to assess saliva production. As hyperglycemia may alter pulp repair, the effect of high glucose levels on the proliferation/differentiation of cultured MD10-F2 pulp cells was also analyzed. Results showed that Akita ⁻/⁻ mice at 6 weeks of age showed chalky white incisors that correlated with marked hyperglycemia and impaired saliva production. MicroCT of Akita ⁻/⁻ teeth revealed excessive enamel wearing and hypomineralization; immunostaining for Amel and Ambn was decreased. A striking feature was invasion of dentinal tubules with Streptococcus mitis and microabcesses that originated in the coronal pulp and progressed to pulp necrosis and periapical periodontitis. High levels of glucose also inhibited MD10-F2 cell proliferation and differentiation. Our findings provide the first evidence that hyperglycemia in combination with reduced saliva in a model of type1 DM leads to decreased enamel mineralization/matrix proteins and predisposes to excessive wearing and decay. Importantly, hyperglycemia adversely affects enamel matrix proteins and pulp repair. Early detection and treatment of hyperglycemia and hyposalivation may provide a useful strategy for preventing the dental complications of diabetes and promoting oral health in this population.
    Laboratory Investigation 03/2012; 92(6):868-82. · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The BMP signaling pathway has a crucial role in chondrocyte proliferation and maturation during endochondral bone development. To investigate the specific function of the Bmp2 and Bmp4 genes in growth plate chondrocytes during cartilage development, we generated chondrocyte-specific Bmp2 and Bmp4 conditional knockout (cKO) mice and Bmp2,Bmp4 double knockout (dKO) mice. We found that deletion of Bmp2 and Bmp4 genes or the Bmp2 gene alone results in a severe chondrodysplasia phenotype, whereas deletion of the Bmp4 gene alone produces a minor cartilage phenotype. Both dKO and Bmp2 cKO mice exhibit severe disorganization of chondrocytes within the growth plate region and display profound defects in chondrocyte proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. To understand the mechanism by which BMP2 regulates these processes, we explored the specific relationship between BMP2 and Runx2, a key regulator of chondrocyte differentiation. We found that BMP2 induces Runx2 expression at both the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. BMP2 enhances Runx2 protein levels through inhibition of CDK4 and subsequent prevention of Runx2 ubiquitylation and proteasomal degradation. Our studies provide novel insights into the genetic control and molecular mechanism of BMP signaling during cartilage development.
    Journal of Cell Science 10/2011; 124(Pt 20):3428-40. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CSF-1, a key regulator of mononuclear phagocyte production, is highly expressed in the skeleton by osteoblasts/osteocytes and in a number of nonskeletal tissues such as uterus, kidney and brain. The spontaneous mutant op/op mouse has been the conventional model of CSF-1 deficiency and exhibits a pleiotropic phenotype characterized by osteopetrosis, and defects in hematopoiesis, fertility and neural function. Studies to further delineate the biologic effect of CSF-1 within various tissues have been hampered by the lack of suitable models. To address this issue, we generated CSF-1 floxed/floxed mice and demonstrate that Cre-mediated recombination using Meox2Cre, a Cre line expressed in epiblast during early embryogenesis, results in mice with ubiquitous CSF-1 deficiency (CSF-1KO). Homozygous CSF-1KO mice lacked CSF-1 in all tissues and displayed, in part, a similar phenotype to op/op mice that included: failure of tooth eruption, osteopetrosis, reduced macrophage densities in reproductive and other organs and altered hematopoiesis with decreased marrow cellularity, circulating monocytes and B cell lymphopoiesis. In contrast to op/op mice, CSF-1KO mice showed elevated circulating and splenic T cells. A striking feature in CSF-1KO mice was defective osteocyte maturation, bone mineralization and osteocyte-lacunar system that was associated with reduced dentin matrix protein 1 (DMP1) expression in osteocytes. CSF-1KO mice also showed a dramatic reduction in osteomacs along the endosteal surface that may have contributed to the hematopoietic and cortical bone defects. Thus, our findings show that ubiquitous CSF-1 gene deletion using a Cre-based system recapitulates the expected osteopetrotic phenotype. Moreover, results point to a novel link between CSF-1 and osteocyte survival/function that is essential for maintaining bone mass and strength during skeletal development.
    Bone 09/2011; 50(1):42-53. · 3.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tooth development is regulated by epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and their reciprocal molecular signaling. Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (Bmp2) is essential for tooth formation. However, the role of Bmp2 during enamel formation remains unknown in vivo. In this study, the role of Bmp2 in the regulation of postnatal enamel formation was investigated via the conditional ablation of Bmp2 in enamel using the (Osx-Cre) mouse. Bmp2 gene ablation was confirmed by PCR analysis in Osx-Cre, Bmp2(flox/flox) mice. Bmp2-null mice displayed a severe and profound tooth phenotype with asymmetric and open forked incisors. Microradiographs revealed broken incisor tips and dental pulp chamber exposure. The enamel layer of incisors and molars was thin with hypomineralization. Scanning electron microscopy analysis showed that the enamel surface was rough with chipping and the enamel lacked a typical prismatic architecture. These results demonstrate that Bmp2 is essential for enamel formation.
    Cells Tissues Organs 05/2011; 194(2-4):216-21. · 1.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is a major physiologic regulator of calcium, phosphorous, and skeletal homeostasis. Cells of the osteoblastic lineage are key targets of PTH action in bone, and recent evidence suggests that osteocytes might be important in the anabolic effects of PTH. To understand the role of PTH signaling through the PTH/PTHrP receptors (PPR) in osteocytes and to determine the role(s) of these cells in mediating the effects of the hormone, we have generated mice in which PPR expression is specifically ablated in osteocytes. Transgenic mice in which the 10 kb-Dmp1 promoter drives a tamoxifen-inducible Cre-recombinase were mated with animals in which exon 1 of PPR is flanked by lox-P sites. In these animals, osteocyte-selective PPR knockout (Ocy-PPR(cKO) mice) could be induced by administration of tamoxifen. Histological analysis revealed a reduction in trabecular bone and mild osteopenia in Ocy-PPR(cKO) mice. Reduction of trabeculae number and thickness was also detected by micro-computed tomography analysis whereas bone volume fraction (BV/TV%) was unchanged. These findings were associated with an increase in Sost and sclerostin expression. When Ocy-PPR(cKO) mice were subjected to a low-calcium diet to induce secondary hyperparathyroidism, their blood calcium levels were significantly lower than littermate controls. Moreover, PTH was unable to suppress Sost and sclerostin expression in the Ocy-PPR(cKO) animals, suggesting an important role of PTH signaling in osteocytes for proper bone remodeling and calcium homeostasis.
    Journal of Endocrinology 01/2011; 209(1):21-32. · 4.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (Bmp2) is essential for osteoblast differentiation and osteogenesis. Generation of floxed Bmp2 osteoblast cell lines is a valuable tool for studying the effects of Bmp2 on osteoblast differentiation and its signaling pathways during skeletal metabolism. Due to relatively limited sources of primary osteoblasts, we have developed cell lines that serve as good surrogate models for the study of osteoblast cell differentiation and bone mineralization. In this study, we established and characterized immortalized mouse floxed Bmp2 osteoblast cell lines. Primary mouse floxed Bmp2 osteoblasts were transfected with pSV3-neo and clonally selected. These transfected cells were verified by PCR and immunohistochemistry. To determine the genotype and phenotype of the immortalized cells, cell morphology, proliferation, differentiation and mineralization were analyzed. Also, expression of osteoblast-related gene markers including Runx2, Osx, ATF4, Dlx3, bone sialoprotein, dentin matrix protein 1, osteonectin, osteocalcin and osteopontin were examined by quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. These results showed that immortalized floxed Bmp2 osteoblasts had a higher proliferation rate but preserved their genotypic and phenotypic characteristics similar to the primary cells. Thus, we, for the first time, describe the development of immortalized mouse floxed Bmp2 osteoblast cell lines and present a useful model to study osteoblast biology mediated by BMP2 and its downstream signaling transduction pathways.
    Cell and Tissue Research 01/2011; 343(3):545-58. · 3.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Since little is known regarding osteocytes, cells embedded within the mineralized bone matrix, a proteomics approach was used to discover proteins more highly expressed in osteocytes than in osteoblasts to determine osteocyte-specific function. Two proteomic profiles obtained by two different proteomic approaches using total cell lysates from the osteocyte cell line MLO-Y4 and the osteoblast cell line MC3T3 revealed unique differences. Three protein clusters, one related to glycolysis (Phosphoglycerate kinase 1, fructose-bisphosphate aldolase A, hypoxia up-regulated 1 [ORP150], triosephosphate isomerase), one to protein folding (Mitochondrial Stress-70 protein, ORP150, Endoplasmin), and one to actin cytoskeleton regulation (Macrophage-capping protein [CapG], destrin, forms of lamin A and vimentin) were identified. Higher protein expression of ORP-150, Cap G, and destrin in MLO-Y4 cells compared with MC3T3 cells was validated by gene expression, Western blotting, and in vivo expression. These proteins were shown to be selective in osteocytes in vivo using immuno-staining of mouse ulnae. Destrin was most highly expressed in embedding osteoid osteocytes, GapG in embedded osteocytes, and ORP150 in deeply embedded osteocytes. In summary, the proteomic approach has yielded important information regarding molecular mechanisms used by osteocytes for embedding in matrix, the formation of dendritic processes, and protection within a hypoxic environment.
    Proteomics 10/2010; 10(20):3688-98. · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (Bmp2) is essential for odontogensis and dentin mineralization. Generation of floxed Bmp2 dental mesenchymal cell lines is a valuable application for studying the effects of Bmp2 on dental mesenchymal cell differentiation and its signaling pathways during dentinogenesis. Limitation of the primary culture of dental mesenchymal cells has led to the development of cell lines that serve as good surrogate models for the study of dental mesenchymal cell differentiation into odontoblasts and mineralization. In this study, we established and characterized immortalized mouse floxed Bmp2 dental papilla mesenchymal cell lines, which were isolated from 1st mouse mandibular molars at postnatal day 1 and immortalized with pSV40 and clonally selected. These transfected cell lines were characterized by RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, and analyzed for alkaline phosphatase activity and mineralization nodule formation. One of these immortalized cell lines, iBmp2-dp, displayed a higher proliferation rate, but retained the genotypic and phenotypic characteristics similar to primary cells as determined by expression of tooth-specific markers as well as demonstrated the ability to differentiate and form mineralized nodules. In addition, iBmp2-dp cells were inducible and responded to BMP2 stimulation. Thus, we for the first time described the establishment of an immortalized mouse floxed Bmp2 dental papilla mesenchyma cell line that might be used for studying the mechanisms of dental cell differentiation and dentin mineralization mediated by Bmp2 and other growth factor signaling pathways.
    Journal of Cellular Physiology 04/2010; 225(1):132-9. · 4.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cyclic mechanical loads applied to the skeleton from habitual physical activity result in increased bone formation. These loads lead to dynamic pressure gradients and oscillatory flow of bone interstitial fluid, which, in turn, exposes cells resident in the bony matrix to oscillatory fluid shear stress. Dynamic fluid flow has previously been shown to be a potent anabolic stimulus for cultured osteoblasts. In this study, we used cDNA microarrays to examine early phase, broad-spectrum gene expression in MC3T3-E1 osteoblasts in response to physical stimulation. RNA was harvested at 30 min and 1 h post-stimulation. RNA was used for microarray hybridization as well as subsequent reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) validation of expression levels for selected genes. Microarray results were analysed by both functional and expression profile clustering. We identified a small number of genes at both the 30 min and 1 h timepoints that were either upregulated or downregulated with flow compared to no-flow control by twofold or more. From the group of genes upregulated at 30 min, we selected nine for RT-PCR confirmation. All were found to be upregulated by at least twofold. We identify a novel set of early response genes potentially involved in mediating the anabolic response of MC3T3 osteoblasts to flow, and provide functional groupings of these genes that may shed light on the relevant mechanosensory pathways involved.
    Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences 02/2010; 368(1912):605-16. · 2.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mammalian organ of Corti of the inner ear is a highly sophisticated sensory end organ responsible for detecting sound. Noggin is a secreted glycoprotein, which antagonizes bone morphogenetic proteins 2 and 4 (Bmp2 and Bmp4). The lack of this antagonist causes increased rows of inner and outer hair cells in the organ of Corti. In mice, Bmp2 is expressed transiently in nascent cochlear hair cells. To investigate whether Noggin normally modulates the levels of Bmp2 for hair cell formation, we deleted Bmp2 in the cochlear hair cells using two cre strains, Foxg1(cre/+) and Gfi1(cre/+). Bmp2 conditional knockout cochleae generated using these two cre strains show normal hair cells. Furthermore, Gfi1(cre/+);Bmp2(lox/-) mice are viable and have largely normal hearing. The combined results of Noggin and Bmp2 mutants suggest that Noggin is likely to regulate other Bmps in the cochlea such as Bmp4.
    Developmental Dynamics 02/2010; 239(2):505-13. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteoporosis is defined as reduced bone mineral density with a high risk of fragile fracture. Current available treatment regimens include antiresorptive drugs such as estrogen receptor analogues and bisphosphates and anabolic agents such as parathyroid hormone (PTH). However, neither option is completely satisfactory because of adverse effects. It is thus highly desirable to identify novel anabolic agents to improve future osteoporosis treatment. Osthole, a coumarin-like derivative extracted from Chinese herbs, has been shown to stimulate osteoblast proliferation and differentiation, but its effect on bone formation in vivo and underlying mechanism remain unknown. In this study, we found that local injection of Osthole significantly increased new bone formation on the surface of mouse calvaria. Ovariectomy caused evident bone loss in rats, whereas Osthole largely prevented such loss, as shown by improved bone microarchitecture, histomorphometric parameters, and biomechanical properties. In vitro studies demonstrated that Osthole activated Wnt/beta-catenin signaling, increased Bmp2 expression, and stimulated osteoblast differentiation. Targeted deletion of the beta-catenin and Bmp2 genes abolished the stimulatory effect of Osthole on osteoblast differentiation. Since deletion of the Bmp2 gene did not affect Osthole-induced beta-catenin expression and the deletion of the beta-catenin gene inhibited Osthole-regulated Bmp2 expression in osteoblasts, we propose that Osthole acts through beta-catenin-BMP signaling to promote osteoblast differentiation. Our findings demonstrate that Osthole could be a potential anabolic agent to stimulate bone formation and prevent estrogen deficiency-induced bone loss.
    Journal of bone and mineral research: the official journal of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 01/2010; 25(6):1234-45. · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the role of Wnt-beta-catenin signaling in bone remodeling, we analyzed the bone phenotype of female Axin2-lacZ knockout (KO) mice. We found that trabecular bone mass was significantly increased in 6- and 12-month-old Axin2 KO mice and that bone formation rates were also significantly increased in 6-month-old Axin2 KO mice compared with wild-type (WT) littermates. In vitro studies were performed using bone marrow stromal (BMS) cells isolated from 6-month-old WT and Axin2 KO mice. Osteoblast proliferation and differentiation were significantly increased and osteoclast formation was significantly reduced in Axin2 KO mice. Nuclear beta-catenin protein levels were significantly increased in BMS cells derived from Axin2 KO mice. In vitro deletion of the beta-catenin gene under Axin2 KO background significantly reversed the increased alkaline phosphatase activity and the expression of osteoblast marker genes observed in Axin2 KO BMS cells. We also found that mRNA expression of Bmp2 and Bmp4 and phosphorylated Smad1/5 protein levels were significantly increased in BMS cells derived from Axin2 KO mice. The chemical compound BIO, an inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase 3beta, was utilized for in vitro signaling studies in which upregulated Bmp2 and Bmp4 expression was measured in primary calvarial osteoblasts. Primary calvarial osteoblasts were isolated from Bmp2(fx/fx);Bmp4(fx/fx) mice and infected with adenovirus-expressing Cre recombinase. BIO induced Osx, Col1, Alp and Oc mRNA expression in WT cells and these effects were significantly inhibited in Bmp2/4-deleted osteoblasts, suggesting that BIO-induced Osx and marker gene expression were Bmp2/4-dependent. We further demonstrated that BIO-induced osteoblast marker gene expression was significantly inhibited by Osx siRNA. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that Axin2 is a key negative regulator in bone remodeling in adult mice and regulates osteoblast differentiation through the beta-catenin-BMP2/4-Osx signaling pathway in osteoblasts.
    Journal of Cell Science 10/2009; 122(Pt 19):3566-78. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Canonical BMP and Wnt signaling pathways play critical roles in regulation of osteoblast function and bone formation. Recent studies demonstrate that BMP-2 acts synergistically with beta-catenin to promote osteoblast differentiation. To determine the molecular mechanisms of the signaling cross-talk between canonical BMP and Wnt signaling pathways, we have used primary osteoblasts and osteoblast precursor cell lines 2T3 and MC3T3-E1 cells to investigate the effect of BMP-2 on beta-catenin signaling. We found that BMP-2 stimulates Lrp5 expression and inhibits the expression of beta-TrCP, the F-box E3 ligase responsible for beta-catenin degradation and subsequently increases beta-catenin protein levels in osteoblasts. In vitro deletion of the beta-catenin gene inhibits osteoblast proliferation and alters osteoblast differentiation and reduces the responsiveness of osteoblasts to the BMP-2 treatment. These findings suggest that BMP-2 may regulate osteoblast function in part through modulation of the beta-catenin signaling.
    Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 09/2009; 108(4):896-905. · 3.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osteocytes represent the most abundant cellular component of mammalian bones with important functions in bone mass maintenance and remodeling. To elucidate the differential gene expression between osteoblasts and osteocytes we completed a comprehensive analysis of their gene profiles. Selective identification of these two mature populations was achieved by utilization of visual markers of bone lineage cells. We have utilized dual GFP reporter mice in which osteocytes are expressing GFP (topaz) directed by the DMP1 promoter, while osteoblasts are identified by expression of GFP (cyan) driven by 2.3 kb of the Col1a1 promoter. Histological analysis of 7-day-old neonatal calvaria confirmed the expression pattern of DMP1GFP in osteocytes and Col2.3 in osteoblasts and osteocytes. To isolate distinct populations of cells we utilized fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS). Cell suspensions were subjected to RNA extraction, in vitro transcription and labeling of cDNA and gene expression was analyzed using the Illumina WG-6v1 BeadChip. Following normalization of raw data from four biological replicates, 3444 genes were called present in all three sorted cell populations: GFP negative, Col2.3cyan(+) (osteoblasts), and DMP1topaz(+) (preosteocytes and osteocytes). We present the genes that showed in excess of a 2-fold change for gene expression between DMP1topaz(+) and Col2.3cyan(+) cells. The selected genes were classified and grouped according to their associated gene ontology terms. Genes clustered to osteogenesis and skeletal development such as Bmp4, Bmp8a, Dmp1, Enpp1, Phex and Ank were highly expressed in DMP1topaz(+)cells. Most of the genes encoding extracellular matrix components and secreted proteins had lower expression in DMP1topaz(+) cells, while most of the genes encoding plasma membrane proteins were increased. Interestingly a large number of genes associated with muscle development and function and with neuronal phenotype were increased in DMP1topaz(+) cells, indicating some new aspects of osteocyte biology. Although a large number of genes differentially expressed in DMP1topaz(+) and Col2.3cyan(+) cells in our study have already been assigned to bone development and physiology, for most of them we still lack any substantial data. Therefore, isolation of osteocyte and osteoblast cell populations and their subsequent microarray analysis allowed us to identify a number or genes and pathways with potential roles in regulation of bone mass.
    Bone 07/2009; 45(4):682-92. · 3.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) is essential for postnatal bone formation and fracture repair. By screening chemical libraries for BMP-2 mimics using a cell-based assay, we identified inhibitors of microtubule assembly as stimulators of BMP-2 transcription. These microtubule inhibitors increased osteoblast differentiation in vitro, stimulated periosteal bone formation when injected locally over murine calvaria, and enhanced trabecular bone formation when administered systemically in vivo. To explore molecular mechanisms mediating these responses, we examined effects of microtubule inhibitors on the hedgehog (Hh) pathway, since this pathway is known to regulate BMP-2 transcription in osteoblasts and microtubules have been shown to be involved in Hh signaling in Drosophila. Here we show that in osteoblasts, inhibition of microtubule assembly increased cytoplasmic levels and transcriptional activity of Gli2, a transcriptional mediator of Hh signaling that we have previously shown to enhance BMP-2 expression in osteoblasts (M. Zhao et al., Mol. Cell. Biol. 26:6197-6208, 2006). Microtubule inhibition blocked beta-TrCP-mediated proteasomal processing of Gli2 in osteoblasts. In summary, inhibition of microtubule assembly enhances BMP-2 gene transcription and subsequent bone formation, in part, through inhibiting proteasomal processing of Gli2 and increasing intracellular Gli2 concentrations.
    Molecular and cellular biology 01/2009; 29(5):1291-305. · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The osteocyte is a type of cell that appears to be one of the key endocrine regulators of bone metabolism and a key responder to initiate bone formation and remodeling. Identifying the regulatory networks in osteocytes may lead to new therapies for osteoporosis and loss of bone. Using microarray, we identified 269 genes over-expressed in osteocyte, many of which have known functions in bone and muscle differentiation and contractility. We determined the evolutionarily conserved and enriched TF binding sites in the 5 kb promoter regions of these genes. Using this data, a transcriptional regulatory network was constructed and subsequently partitioned to identify cis-regulatory modules. Our results show that many osteocyte-specific genes, including two well-known osteocyte markers DMP1 and Sost, have highly conserved clustering of muscle-related cis-regulatory modules, thus supporting the concept that a muscle-related gene network is important in osteocyte biology and may play a role in contractility and dynamic movements of the osteocyte.
    BMC Bioinformatics 01/2009; 10 Suppl 9:S5. · 3.02 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
198.38 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013
    • Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgery Center
      Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, United States
  • 1995–2013
    • University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
      • • Department of Periodontics
      • • Division of Pediatric Dentistry
      • • Department of Cellular and Structural Biology
      • • Division of Hospital Medicine
      San Antonio, TX, United States
  • 2012
    • UConn Health Center
      Farmington, Connecticut, United States
  • 2011
    • University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler
      Tyler, Texas, United States
  • 2009–2011
    • University of Rochester
      • Center for Musculoskeletal Research
      Rochester, NY, United States
  • 2006
    • University Center Rochester
      Rochester, Minnesota, United States
  • 2005
    • University of Texas at San Antonio
      San Antonio, Texas, United States
  • 2003
    • University of Missouri - Kansas City
      • Department of Oral Biology
      Kansas City, MO, United States