Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play important roles in early lung development. No study to date has addressed a role for BMP signaling in late lung development. We describe changes in the expression and localization of BMP receptors (Bmpr1a, Bmpr1b, and Bmpr2) and Smad (Smad1, Smad4, Smad5, and Smad8) intracellular signaling proteins during the saccular and alveolarization stages of late lung development. BMP signaling, assessed by Smad1/5 phosphorylation, nuclear translocation, and induction of id1, id2, and id3 gene expression, was evident throughout late lung development. Our data indicate that BMP signaling is active during late lung development, and points to roles for the BMP system in septal and vascular development, and in the homeostasis of the epithelial layer of large conducting airways in the mature lung.
2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.