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      Organisation of Bone Morphogenetic Proteins in Renal Development

      a , b

      Cardiorenal Medicine

      S. Karger AG

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          Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) comprise the largest subfamily of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily of secreted proteins. Evidence for the involvement of BMPs in metanephric development emerged recently when renal phenotypes were observed in BMP7 null mutant mice. Since then, several other BMPs, BMP receptor serine/threonine kinases and BMP signal transduction molecules (Smads) have been implicated in mammalian metanephric development. It appears that particular BMPs have pivotal roles in specific aspects of metanephric development. Current knowledge and evidence of specific roles of particular BMPs are presented in this review.

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          Overlapping expression domains of bone morphogenetic protein family members potentially account for limited tissue defects in BMP7 deficient embryos.

          BMP7 is expressed at diverse sites in the developing mouse embryo, including visceral endoderm, notochord, heart, eye, kidney, and bone. A null mutation in BMP7 results in defects largely confined to the developing kidney and eye. To examine whether other bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family members potentially substitute for BMP7 in mutant embryos, thereby restricting the observed defects, we analyzed the expression patterns of BMP2 through BMP7 in wild-type and mutant tissues. In the central nervous system and heart, which develop normally in the absence of BMP7 signaling, expression domains of other BMP family members completely overlap with that of BMP7. The variable expressivity of the eye defect correlates with partially overlapping BMP4 and BMP7 expression domains during early eye induction. The loss of BMP7 signaling in the kidney results in apoptosis in the metanephric mesenchyme, a cell population that exclusively expresses BMP7. Thus, tissue defects observed in BMP7 deficient embryos are restricted to cell populations exclusively expressing BMP7. These data suggest that BMP family members can functionally substitute for BMP7 at sites where they colocalize in vivo.
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            Immunohistochemical expression of Smads 1-6 in the 15-day gestation mouse embryo: signaling by BMPs and TGF-betas.

            The eight mammalian Smad proteins mediate cellular signaling from members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), and activin families. Smads 1, 5, and 8 transmit signals from BMPs, while Smads 2 and 3 transmit signals from TGF-betas and activin. Smad 4 is a common mediator of both pathways, while Smads 6 and 7 inhibit signaling. Signal transduction involves translocation of Smad complexes to the nucleus and subsequent gene activation. Little is known about the expression of endogenous Smad proteins during development. We identified commercially available Smad antibodies that specifically recognize a unique Smad protein and are suitable for immunohistochemistry. Here we compare the localization of Smads 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 in tissues of the 15-day gestation mouse embryo. Immunoreactive Smad proteins are seen in many tissues with differences in the localization being dependent upon the cell type. All tissues express Smad 4 and at least one each of the BMP-specific and TGF-beta-specific Smads, while expression of Smad 6 is more restricted. Differences are observed in the nuclear versus cytoplasmic localization among the Smads in different cell types or tissues, suggesting selective activation of Smads during this stage of development. Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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              BMP-4 affects the differentiation of metanephric mesenchyme and reveals an early anterior-posterior axis of the embryonic kidney.

              Bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP4), a member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) family, regulates several developmental processes during animal development. We have now studied the effects of BMP-4 in the metanephric kidney differentiation by using organ culture technique. Human recombinant BMP-4 diminishes the number of ureteric branches and changes the branching pattern. Our data suggest that BMP-4 affects the ureteric branching indirectly via interfering with the differentiation of the nephrogenic mesenchyme. The clear positional preference of the defects to posterior mesenchyme might reflect an early anterior-posterior patterning of the metanephric mesenchyme. The smooth muscle alpha-actin expressing cell population around the ureteric stalk, highly expressing Bmp-4 mRNA, is also expanded in kidneys treated with BMP-4. Thus, BMP-4 may be a physiological regulator of the development of the periureteric smooth muscle layer and ureteric elongation.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Exp Nephrol
                Cardiorenal Medicine
                S. Karger AG
                January 2003
                17 November 2004
                : 93
                : 1
                : e18-e22
                aInstitute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, and bDepartment of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Monash University, Clayton, Vic., Australia
                66649 Nephron Exp Nephrol 2003;93:e18–e22
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 1, Tables: 3, References: 19, Pages: 1
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                Cardiovascular Medicine, Nephrology


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