Bone morphogenetic protein 4 (Bmp4) is a well known growth factor that regulates gene expression through the SMAD signaling pathway. Bmp4 is involved in many developmental processes and has been identified as an important factor in several cancers, including melanoma, ovarian cancer, and colon cancer. Madoz-Gurpide et al. recently observed Bmp4 in the nuclei of a minor percentage of cells in colon cancer tissues. In addition, our lab has recently discovered a nuclear variant of Bmp2 (nBmp2), the TGF-β family member most closely related to Bmp4. These observations led us to hypothesize that a nuclear variant of Bmp4 (nBmp4) also exists. The results of chapter one report the existence of a nuclear variant of Bmp4. nBmp4 is translated from an alternative start codon downstream of the signal peptide sequence which allows a bipartite nuclear localization signal to direct translocation of nBmp4 to the nucleus. Chapter 2 and 3 further report that nBmp4 interacts with several subunits in the SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase, namely two Regulator of Cullins (ROC) proteins, five Cullin proteins, and two F-box proteins. Due to the known role of the SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase in regulating the cell cycle, the effect of nBmp4 on cell cycle progression was analyzed and the results show that nBmp4 affects the cell cycle by causing cells to accumulate in G0/G1. The association of nBmp4 and the SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase components and the affect that nBmp4 has on the cell cycle suggest that nBmp4 functions in the nucleus by inhibiting the SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase from ubiquitinating target proteins that are involved in regulating cell cycle progression. Finally, the initial stages in the generation of an nBmp4 over-expression mouse are described. The results of this research clearly change the traditional paradigm that Bmp4 performs all of its functions via extracellular signaling and introduce the existence of a nuclear variant that is involved in cell cycle regulation.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Microbiology and Molecular Biology



Date Submitted


Document Type





nuclear localization signal, Bmp4, SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase, cell cycle, ROC1, ROC2



Included in

Microbiology Commons