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Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Dec;20(23):8783-92.

Runx2 is a common target of transforming growth factor beta1 and bone morphogenetic protein 2, and cooperation between Runx2 and Smad5 induces osteoblast-specific gene expression in the pluripotent mesenchymal precursor cell line C2C12.

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Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, and Medical Research Institute, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju 361-763, Korea.


When C2C12 pluripotent mesenchymal precursor cells are treated with transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF-beta1), terminal differentiation into myotubes is blocked. Treatment with bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) not only blocks myogenic differentiation of C2C12 cells but also induces osteoblast differentiation. The molecular mechanisms governing the ability of TGF-beta1 and BMP-2 to both induce ligand-specific responses and inhibit myogenic differentiation are not known. We identified Runx2/PEBP2alphaA/Cbfa1, a global regulator of osteogenesis, as a major TGF-beta1-responsive element binding protein induced by TGF-beta1 and BMP-2 in C2C12 cells. Consistent with the observation that Runx2 can be induced by either TGF-beta1 or BMP-2, the exogenous expression of Runx2 mediated some of the effects of TGF-beta1 and BMP-2 but not osteoblast-specific gene expression. Runx2 mimicked common effects of TGF-beta1 and BMP-2 by inducing expression of matrix gene products (for example, collagen and fibronectin), suppressing MyoD expression, and inhibiting myotube formation of C2C12 cells. For osteoblast differentiation, an additional effector, BMP-specific Smad protein, was required. Our results indicate that Runx2 is a major target gene shared by TGF-beta and BMP signaling pathways and that the coordinated action of Runx2 and BMP-activated Smads leads to the induction of osteoblast-specific gene expression in C2C12 cells.

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