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J Biol Chem. 1999 Mar 12;274(11):6972-8.

Cbfa1 isoforms exert functional differences in osteoblast differentiation.

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Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals Research Center, Osaka 554-0022, Japan.


Cbfa1 is an essential transcription factor for osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. We investigated functional differences among three isoforms of Cbfa1: Type I (originally reported as Pebp2alphaA by Ogawa et al. (Ogawa, E., Maruyama, M., Kagoshima, H., Inuzuka, M., Lu, J., Satake, M., Shigesada, K., and Ito, Y. (1993) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 90, 6859-6863), Type II (originally reported as til-1 by Stewart et al. (Stewart, M., Terry, A., Hu, M., O'Hara, M., Blyth, K., Baxter, E., Cameron, E., Onions, D. E., and Neil, J. C. (1997) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 94, 8646-8651), and Type III (originally reported as Osf2/Cbfa1 by Ducy et al. (Ducy, P., Zhang, R., Geoffroy, V., Ridall, A. L., and Karsenty, G. (1997) Cell 89, 747-754). A reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis demonstrated that these isoforms were expressed in adult mouse bones. The transient transfection of Type I or Type II Cbfa1 in a mouse fibroblastic cell line, C3H10T1/2, induced the expression of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. This induction was synergistically enhanced by the co-introduction of Xenopus BMP-4 cDNA. In contrast, the transient transfection of Type III cDNA induced no ALP activity. In C3H10T1/2 cells stably transfected with each isoform of Cbfa1, the gene expression of ALP was also strongly induced in cells transfected with Type I and Type II Cbfa1 but not in cells with Type III Cbfa1. Osteocalcin, osteopontin,and type I collagen gene expressions were induced or up-regulated in all of the cells stably transfected with each isoform of Cbfa1, and Type II transfected cells exhibited the highest expression level of osteocalcin gene. A luciferase reporter gene assay using a 6XOSE2-SV40 promoter (6 tandem binding elements for Cbfa1 ligated in front of the SV40 promoter sequence), a mouse osteocalcin promoter, and a mouse osteopontin promoter revealed the differences in the transcriptional induction of target genes by each Cbfa1 isoform with or without its beta-subunit. These results suggest that all three of the Cbfa1 isoforms used in the present study are involved in the stimulatory action of osteoblast differentiation, but they exert different functions in the process of osteoblast differentiation.

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