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Mol Cells. 2010 Jan;29(1):29-33. doi: 10.1007/s10059-010-0007-1. Epub 2009 Dec 7.

Hoxc8 represses BMP-induced expression of Smad6.

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Department of Anatomy, Embryology Laboratory, Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, 120-752, Korea.


Proper regulation of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling is critical for correct patterning and morphogenesis of various tissues and organs. A well known feedback mechanism is a BMP-mediated induction of Smad6, an inhibitor of BMP signaling. Hoxc8, one of the Hox family transcription factors, has also been shown to negatively regulate BMP-mediated gene expression. Here we add another level of Hoxc8 regulation on BMP signaling. Our results show that Hoxc8, when over-expressed in C3H10T1/2 or C2C12 cells, suppressed basal Smad6 promoter activity and its mRNA expression. Activation of Smad6 transcription either by BMP2 treatment or Smad1 over-expression was also abolished by Hoxc8. When chromatin was precipitated from mouse embryos with anti-Smad1 or anti-Hoxc8 antibody, Smad6 promoter sequence was enriched, suggesting that Hoxc8 proteins make complexes with Smad1 in the Smad6 promoter region. Yet, a lack of Hox binding motifs in the Smad6 promoter sequence suggests that instead of directly binding to the DNA, Hoxc8 may regulate Smad6 expression via an indirect mechanism. Our results suggest that the Smad6-mediated negative feedback mechanism on BMP signaling may be balanced by the repression of Smad6 expression by Hoxc8.

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