Specific Expression of BMP2/4 Ortholog in Biomineralizing Tissues of Corals and Action on Mouse BMP Receptor
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Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are members of the transforming growth factor β superfamily, and have been identified by their ability to induce bone formation in vertebrates. The biomineral-forming process, called biomineralization, is a widespread process, present in all kingdoms of living organisms and among which stony corals are one of the major groups of calcifying animals. Here, we report the presence of a BMP2/4 ortholog in eight species of adult corals. The synthesis of such a protein by the calcifying epithelium of corals suggests that coral BMP2/4 plays a role in skeletogenesis, making BMP the first common protein involved in biomineralization among Eumetazoans. In addition we show that recombinant coral BMP2/4 is able to inhibit human BMP2-induced osteoblastic differentiation in mesenchymal C2C12 cells. We suggest that this inhibition results from a competition between coral BMP2/4 and human BMP2, indicating conservation of binding affinity of BMP and its receptor during evolution from corals to vertebrates. Further studies are needed to understand interactions between coral BMP2/4 and its receptors, and, thus, the action of BMP2/4 in adult corals.
KeywordsCnidaria Biomineralization Bone morphogenetic protein Molecular evolution
We thank Dr. Jean-Claude Scimeca for his helpful comments and discussion on this manuscript. We are grateful to Natacha Caminiti and Severine Lotto for their technical help and to Dominique Desgré for coral maintenance. Aurélie Moya was supported by a fellowship from the Centre Scientifique de Monaco.
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