The Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are a family of growth factors belonging to the TGF beta superfamily. Originally named for their ability to induce bone and cartilage growth, they are now known to play a diverse number of roles throughout the body. The BMP antibody database covers around 20 proteins discovered since the 1960s, though it is thought more are waiting to be discovered.
Recent developments in antibody research have clarified many aspects of BMP function. Activity is mediated by type 1 and type II BMP receptors. BMPR1A,1B and 2 are specific to BMPs, while ActR-II and ActR-IIB bind both BMP and activin.The BMP receptors are dependent on a number of substrates, including the downstream proteins Smad1, 5 and 8. Antibody studies have shown that these play an essential role in relaying BMP signals from receptor to target gene.
Following phosphorylation and release by BMP receptors, they form a complex with Smad4 and translocate to the nucleus, interacting with other transcription factors. This process is regulated by Smad6, which binds to type1 BMP receptors to prevent activation of Smad1-8. Smad6 overexpression is associated with delayed differentiation and maturation of chondrocytes.
The BMP/BMPR/Smad signaling pathways are important to embryonic and post-natal development of the heart, CNS, cartilage and skeleton. BMP mutations can affect the developing embryo, and are associated with a range of cytoskeletal disorders. They are also associated with colon and esophageal cancer.BMP4 is known to inhibit neural differentiation. Recently, Kamiva, Banno et al used Zfp521and BMP4 antibodies to identify the mechanism by which embryonic stem cells (ESCs) differentiate into neural progenitors.
Zfp521, a nuclear zinc-finger protein, was seen to be essential to this process. In the absence of BMP4, Zfp521 was strongly expressed in differentiating ESCs. Forced expression of Zfp521 initiated neural differentiation of ESCs even when BMP4 was present.We at Novus Biologicals have a large antibody database containing a wide range of BMP antibodies, including BMP4. They are also featured in our technical stem cell antibody catalogue, which covers our stem cell reagents in detail.