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Int J Biol Sci 2008; 4(5):318-329. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4.318

Review

Unveiling the Bmp13 Enigma: Redundant Morphogen or Crucial Regulator?

Lisa A Williams, Divya Bhargav, Ashish D Diwan

Spine Service, St George Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Abstract

Bone morphogenetic proteins are a diverse group of morphogens with influences not only on bone tissue, as the nomenclature suggests, but on multiple tissues in the body and often at crucial and influential periods in development.

The purpose of this review is to identify and discuss current knowledge of one vertebrate BMP, Bone Morphogenetic Protein 13 (BMP13), from a variety of research fields, in order to clarify BMP13's functional contribution to developing and maintaining healthy tissues, and to identify potential future research directions for this intriguing morphogen. BMP13 is highly evolutionarily conserved (active domain >95%) across diverse species from Zebrafish to humans, suggesting a crucial function. In addition, mutations in BMP13 have recently been associated with Klippel-Feil Syndrome, causative of numerous skeletal and developmental defects including spinal disc fusion. The specific nature of BMP13's crucial function is, however, not yet known.

The literature for BMP13 is focused largely on its activity in the healing of tendon-like tissues, or in comparisons with other BMP family molecules for whom a clear function in embryo development or osteogenic differentiation has been identified. There is a paucity of detailed information regarding BMP13 protein activity, structure or protein processing. Whilst some activity in the stimulation of osteogenic or cartilaginous gene expression has been reported, and BMP13 expression is found in post natal cartilage and tendon tissues, there appears to be a redundancy of function in the BMP family, with several members capable of stimulating similar tissue responses. This review aims to summarise the known or potential role(s) for BMP13 in a variety of biological systems.

Keywords: BMP13, Cartilage, Growth Factor, Development, Bone

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Williams LA, Bhargav D, Diwan AD. Unveiling the Bmp13 Enigma: Redundant Morphogen or Crucial Regulator?. Int J Biol Sci 2008; 4(5):318-329. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4.318. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v04p0318.htm