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Mol Cell Biol. 1994 Sep;14(9):5961-74.

Characterization and cloning of a receptor for BMP-2 and BMP-4 from NIH 3T3 cells.

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Corporate Research Division, Miami Valley Laboratories, Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, Ohio 45239-8707.


The bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are a group of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta)-related factors whose only receptor identified to date is the product of the daf-4 gene from Caenorhabditis elegans. Mouse embryonic NIH 3T3 fibroblasts display high-affinity 125I-BMP-4 binding sites. Binding assays are not possible with the isoform 125I-BMP-2 unless the positively charged N-terminal sequence is removed to create a modified BMP-2, 125I-DR-BMP-2. Cross-competition experiments reveal that BMP-2 and BMP-4 interact with the same binding sites. Affinity cross-linking assays show that both BMPs interact with cell surface proteins corresponding in size to the type I (57- to 62-kDa) and type II (75- to 82-kDa) receptor components for TGF-beta and activin. Using a PCR approach, we have cloned a cDNA from NIH 3T3 cells which encodes a novel member of the transmembrane serine/threonine kinase family most closely resembling the cloned type I receptors for TGF-beta and activin. Transient expression of this receptor in COS-7 cells leads to an increase in specific 125I-BMP-4 binding and the appearance of a major affinity-labeled product of approximately 64 kDa that can be labeled by either tracer. This receptor has been named BRK-1 in recognition of its ability to bind BMP-2 and BMP-4 and its receptor kinase structure. Although BRK-1 does not require cotransfection of a type II receptor in order to bind ligand in COS cells, complex formation between BRK-1 and the BMP type II receptor DAF-4 can be demonstrated when the two receptors are coexpressed, affinity labeled, and immunoprecipitated with antibodies to either receptor subunit. We conclude that BRK-1 is a putative BMP type I receptor capable of interacting with a known type II receptor for BMPs.

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