, Volume 339, Issue 1, pp 189-195
Date: 01 Aug 2009

Regulation of bone development and extracellular matrix protein genes by RUNX2

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Abstract

RUNX2 is a multifunctional transcription factor that controls skeletal development by regulating the differentiation of chondrocytes and osteoblasts and the expression of many extracellular matrix protein genes during chondrocyte and osteoblast differentiation. This transcription factor plays a major role at the late stage of chondrocyte differentiation: it is required for chondrocyte maturation and regulates Col10a1 expression in hypertrophic chondrocytes and the expression of Spp1, Ibsp, and Mmp13 in terminal hypertrophic chondrocytes. It is essential for the commitment of pluripotent mesenchymal cells to the osteoblast lineage. During osteoblast differentiation, RUNX2 upregulates the expression of bone matrix protein genes including Col1a1, Spp1, Ibsp, Bglap, and Fn1 in vitro and activates many promoters including those of Col1a1, Col1a2, Spp1, Bglap, and Mmp13. However, overexpression of Runx2 inhibits osteoblast maturation and reduces Col1a1 and Bglap expression. The inhibition of RUNX2 in mature osteoblasts does not reduce the expression of Col1a1 and Bglap in mice. Thus, RUNX2 directs pluripotent mesenchymal cells to the osteoblast lineage, triggers the expression of major bone matrix protein genes, and keeps the osteoblasts in an immature stage, but does not play a major role in the maintenance of the expression of Col1a1 or Bglap in mature osteoblasts. During bone development, RUNX2 induces osteoblast differentiation and increases the number of immature osteoblasts, which form immature bone, whereas Runx2 expression has to be downregulated for differentiation into mature osteoblasts, which form mature bone. During dentinogenesis, Runx2 expression is downregulated, and RUNX2 inhibits the terminal differentiation of odontoblasts.