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J Biol Chem. 2000 Mar 24;275(12):8695-702.

Cbfa1 is a positive regulatory factor in chondrocyte maturation.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, Osaka University Medical School, 2-2 Yamada-oka Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Cbfa1 is a transcription factor that belongs to the runt domain gene family. Cbfa1-deficient mice showed a complete lack of bone formation due to the maturational arrest of osteoblasts, demonstrating that Cbfa1 is an essential factor for osteoblast differentiation. Further, chondrocyte maturation was severely disturbed in Cbfa1-deficient mice. In this study, we examined the possibility that Cbfa1 is also involved in the regulation of chondrocyte differentiation. mRNAs for both Cbfa1 isotypes, type I Cbfa1 (Pebp2alphaA/Cbfa1) and type II Cbfa1 (Osf2/Cbfa1 or til-1), which are different in N-terminal domain, were expressed in terminal hypertrophic chondrocytes as well as osteoblasts. In addition, mRNA for type I Cbfa1 was expressed in other hypertrophic chondrocytes and prehypertrophic chondropcytes. In a chondrogenic cell line, ATDC5, the expression of type I Cbfa1 was elevated prior to differentiation to the hypertrophic phenotype, which is characterized by type X collagen expression. Treatment with antisense oligonucleotides for type I Cbfa1 severely reduced type X collagen expression in ATDC5 cells. Retrovirally forced expression of either type I or type II Cbfa1 in chick immature chondrocytes induced type X collagen and MMP13 expression, alkaline phosphatase activity, and extensive cartilage-matrix mineralization. These results indicate that Cbfa1 is an important regulatory factor in chondrocyte maturation.

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