Molecular Genetics of Skeletal Morphogenesis

Chapter · December 1998with2 Reads
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.