Developmental expression and activities of specific fos and jun proteins are functionally related to osteoblast maturation: role of Fra-2 and Jun D during differentiation

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Department of Cell Biology; Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

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Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Developmental studies of oncogene expression implicate the Fos and Jun family of transcription factors in the regulation of bone growth and differentiation. Promoters of many developmentally regulated genes, including osteocalcin, a marker of osteoblast differentiation, contain AP-1 sites that bind Fos/Jun dimers. Here, we demonstrate that the selective expression of fos- and jun-related genes is functionally related to the stage of osteoblast growth and differentiation in vitro. During osteoblast proliferation, nuclear protein levels of all seven activating protein-1 (AP-1) members are maximal. Subsequently, during the period of extracellular matrix maturation, levels decline. In fully differentiated osteoblasts, Fra-2 and (to a lesser extent) Jun D are the principal AP-1 members detectable by Western blot analysis. AP-1 complex composition and binding activity also exhibit developmental changes. All Fos and Jun family members are involved in AP-1 complex formation in proliferating cells, whereas Fra-2 and Jun D predominate in AP-1 complexes in differentiated osteoblasts. Overexpression of Fos and Jun family members in ROS 17/2.8 cells markedly affects the expression of an osteocalcin promoter-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase construct. Coexpression of only one AP-1 pair, Fra-2 and Jun D, stimulated reporter expression, whereas coexpression of other AP-1 pairs down-regulated expression (i.e. c-jun and any Fos family member) or had no effect (i.e. Fra-1 and Jun B). Promoter deletion analyses indicate that these effects are site specific. Consequential effects of Fra-2 on osteoblast differentiation are further demonstrated by antisense studies in which osteoblast differentiation and the development of a bone tissue-like organization were suppressed. Consistent with recent findings suggesting that AP-1 complex composition can selectively regulate gene transcription, our findings demonstrate that differential expression of Fos and Jun family members could play a role in the developmental regulation of bone-specific gene expression and, as a result, may be functionally significant for osteoblast differentiation.

DOI of Published Version



Endocrinology. 1996 Oct;137(10):4398-408.

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