Bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) is a secreted growth factor that is essential for proper embryonic development and proliferation. Our laboratory discovered a nuclear variant of BMP2 (nBMP2) which is produced when translation is initiated at an alternative start codon within the BMP2 gene. When translation occurs at the downstream start codon, the resulting protein lacks the ER signal peptide, thereby allowing cytoplasmic translation and nuclear localization. Our aim is to distinguish the role of this nuclear localized variant from secreted BMP2. Overexpression of nBMP2 in HEK293 and HT29 cell lines resulted in a higher percentage of cells in proliferative phases of the cell cycle. We determined that nBMP2 does not regulate cell cycle progression by inducing hyperphosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein (Rb), but it may regulate the cell cycle by interacting with ROC1. In order to examine the role of nBMP2 in vivo, we have generated a mouse model in which a mutation of the nuclear localization signal (NLS) disrupts nuclear localization of nBMP2. Aberrant crypts were more abundant in nBmp2NLStm azoxymethane (AOM) treated mice than in wild type mice. Furthermore, H&E staining of colonic tissue showed that mutant mice have increased levels of dysplasia and aberrant crypt foci. This work suggests that nBMP2 is involved in regulating cell cycle progression and proliferation, and therefore may play a role in tumorigenesis.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Microbiology and Molecular Biology



Date Submitted


Document Type





growth factors, nuclear localization, cell cycle, colon cancer, tumorigenesis, BMP2

Included in

Microbiology Commons