The bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), as members of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) superfamily, not only control bone formation, but also regulate multiple key steps during embryonic development and differentiation. Furthermore, BMPs play critical roles in maintaining the homeostasis of the cardiovascular, pulmonary, reproductive, urogenital, and nervous systems in adult life. Like all members of the TGF-β superfamily, BMP signaling is mediated through a heteromeric complex of type I and type II transmembrane serine/threonine kinase receptors. The subsequent signal transduction cascade includes either the canonical Smad-dependent or non-canonical Smad-independent pathways. Reflecting the critical function of BMPs, BMP signaling is tightly regulated at multiple steps by various mechanisms including extracellular endogenous antagonists, neutralizing antibodies/extracellular soluble receptor domains, small molecule inhibitors, cytoplasmic inhibitory Smads, and transcriptional co-repressors. Recently, dorsomorphin, the first small molecule inhibitor of BMP signaling, was identified and suggested as a useful tool for dissecting the mechanisms of signaling pathways and for developing novel therapeutics for diverse human diseases that are related to the BMP signaling pathways. In this article, we discuss various mechanisms involved in regulating BMP signaling pathways and their implications for urology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Bone morphogenetic proteins
- Signal transduction
- Transforming growth factors