Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 1, 2005

Cooperativity of Binding Epitopes and Receptor Chains in the BMP/TGFß Superfamily

Petra Knaus and Walter Sebald
From the journal


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) are dimeric factors initiating several distinct signaling cascades by binding to two types of transmembrane serine/threonine kinase receptors (BRI and BRII), and are thus regulating several steps in embryonal development and adult tissue homeostasis. BMP-2 contains two symmetrical pairs of juxtaposed epitopes: the wrist epitope with high affinity to BRI consists of residues from both BMP-2 monomers, while the knuckle epitope resembles the low affinity site for BRII and comprises residues from only one monomer. Here we generated heterodimeric BMP-2 muteins with one monomer mutant in either epitope I for BRI (eI) or epitope II for BRII (eII) and the second monomer wild type for receptor interactions (m). These muteins (B2eI/B2m and B2eII/B2m) were analyzed by biosensor analysis as well as by measuring their biological activity and compared to their homodimeric forms (either wild type or mutant). Depletion of only one epitope II results in the loss of biological activity as measured by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and Smad induced reportergene assays. However, depletion of only one epitope I shows a reduction of ALP activity to about 25%, while the activation of the Smad pathway remained normal. Homomeric muteins are nonfunctional for both Smad and ALP activation. This suggests that two functional epitopes II have to be present on one BMP-2 molecule for receptor activation. Futhermore, both pathways (Smad and ALP) are triggered differently by distinct BMPreceptor complexes. Heteromeric BMP-2 mutants therefore allow a distinguishable manipulation of either pathway and thus represent important tools for the generation of specific BMP-2 antagonists or agonists.

Published Online: 2005-06-01
Published in Print: 2001-08-28

Copyright © 2001 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG