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Science. 2000 Jul 14;289(5477):313-6.

Induction and maintenance of the neuronal cholinergic phenotype in the central nervous system by BMP-9.

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Department of Psychiatry and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) have multiple functions in the developing nervous system. A member of this family, BMP-9, was found to be highly expressed in the embryonic mouse septum and spinal cord, indicating a possible role in regulating the cholinergic phenotype. In cultured neurons, BMP-9 directly induced the expression of the cholinergic gene locus encoding choline acetyltransferase and the vesicular acetylcholine transporter and up-regulated acetylcholine synthesis. The effect was reversed upon withdrawal of BMP-9. Intracerebroventricular injection of BMP-9 increased acetylcholine levels in vivo. Although certain other BMPs also up-regulated the cholinergic phenotype in vitro, they were less effective than BMP-9. These data indicate that BMP-9 is a differentiating factor for cholinergic central nervous system neurons.

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