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Genes Dev. 1995 Nov 15;9(22):2808-20.

BMP-7 is an inducer of nephrogenesis, and is also required for eye development and skeletal patterning.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are multifunctional growth factors originally identified by their ability to induce ectopic bone formation. To investigate the function of one of the BMPs, BMP-7, we have generated BMP-7-deficient mice using embryonic stem cell technology. BMP-7-deficient mice die shortly after birth because of poor kidney development. Histological analysis of mutant embryos at several stages of development revealed that metanephric mesenchymal cells fail to differentiate, resulting in a virtual absence of glomerulus in newborn kidneys. In situ hybridization analysis showed that the absence of BMP-7 affects the expression of molecular markers of nephrogenesis, such as Pax-2 and Wnt-4 between 12.5 and 14.5 days postcoitum (dpc). This identifies BMP-7 as an inducer of nephrogenesis. In addition, BMP-7-deficient mice have eye defects that appear to originate during lens induction. Finally, BMP-7-deficient mice also have skeletal patterning defects restricted to the rib cage, the skull, and the hindlimbs.

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