BMP7/BMP2 or BMP7/BMP4 heterodimers are more active than homodimers in vitro, but it is not known whether these heterodimers signal in vivo. To test this, we generated knock in mice carrying a mutation (Bmp7R-GFlag) that prevents proteolytic activation of the dimerized BMP7 precursor protein. This mutation eliminates the function of BMP7 homodimers and all other BMPs that normally heterodimerize with BMP7. While Bmp7 null homozygotes are live born, Bmp7R-GFlag homozygotes are embryonic lethal and have broadly reduced BMP activity. Furthermore, compound heterozygotes carrying the Bmp7R-G allele together with a null allele of Bmp2 or Bmp4 die during embryogenesis with defects in ventral body wall closure and/or the heart. Co-immunoprecipitation assays confirm that endogenous BMP4/7 heterodimers exist. Thus, BMP7 functions predominantly as a heterodimer with BMP2 or BMP4 during mammalian development, which may explain why mutations in either Bmp4 or Bmp7 lead to a similar spectrum of congenital defects in humans.
- Jan L Christian
- Judith Neugebauer
- Autumn McKnite
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All animal procedures followed protocols approved by the University of Utah Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (protocol #17-03007).
- Marianne E Bronner, California Institute of Technology, United States
© 2019, KIm et al.
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