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Exp Cell Res. 1995 May;218(1):255-62.

Selective expression of fos- and jun-related genes during osteoblast proliferation and differentiation.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester 01655, USA.


Developmental studies of oncogene expression and transgenic animal studies implicate c-fos and other fos and jun family members in the regulation of bone tissue formation. Therefore, to initiate experimental examination of the hypothesis that expression of fos- and jun-related genes is functionally coupled to modulation of gene expression which supports bone development, we determined levels of expression of the principle fos and jun family members during progressive differentiation of normal rat calvaria-derived osteoblasts within two contexts. First, cellular mRNA levels were quantitated under conditions where expression of serum-induced early response genes had returned to basal levels. Our findings demonstrate high levels of c-fos, c-jun, and jun B mRNA transcripts during the proliferative period of osteoblast development, while expression of fra-1 and fra-2 is enhanced during the differentiation period. jun D is constitutively expressed during the time course exhibiting only a 30% decline in levels postproliferatively, and fos B mRNA is undetectable by Northern blot analyses. Late in the developmental sequence, apoptosis is evident. At this time, fra-1 expression is completely downregulated, while c-fos, fra-2, c-jun, jun B, and jun D show a dramatic enhancement in expression. Second, we addressed differential expression of fos and jun family members in relation to serum responsiveness as a function of stages of phenotypic development. Proliferating cells exhibit a prolonged induction of fos and jun family members in response to serum. While in differentiated cells, which are refractory to growth stimulus even when exposed to fresh serum every 2 days, a spike in fos and jun expression is observed. Thus, our data demonstrate significant differences in basal and serum responsiveness of fos and jun family members over the course of osteoblast differentiation. These findings are consistent with multiple lines of evidence linking activity of these early response genes to regulation of cell growth and development of the bone tissue phenotype.

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