, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 221-229
Date: 01 Sep 1998

The Human Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 (BMP-4) Gene: Molecular Structure and Transcriptional Regulation

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Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP-4) is a vital regulatory molecule that functions throughout human development in mesoderm induction, tooth development, limb formation, bone induction, and fracture repair and is overexpressed in patients who have fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva. The human gene encoding bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP-4) has been isolated and its structural organization characterized. The complete DNA sequence of an 11.2 kb region has been determined. BMP-4 mRNA is transcribed from four exons, although there is evidence that alternate first exons may be used. Transcript initiation occurs at variable positions within a GA-rich region of the DNA. The promoter region is GC-rich with no obvious TATA or CAAT consensus sequences, and contains both positive and negative transcriptional regulatory elements within the 3 kb 5′ flanking region of the RNA start site. Comparison of the human and murine BMP-4 genes reveals highly conserved sequences not only in the exon-coding regions but also within the introns and 5′ flanking regions. BMP-4 localizes to human chromosome 14q21 by fluorescence in situ hybridization, a location more centromeric than that recently reported. These studies provide a foundation for understanding the genetic regulation of this important gene in human development.

Received: 2 July 1997 / Accepted: 8 January 1998