Background: The present study investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the 4A > C and -349C > T single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in bone morphogenetic protein receptor type IA (BMPR-IA) gene, which significantly associated with the occurrence and the extent of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) in the cervical spine.
Methods: The SNPs in BMPR-IA gene were genotyped, and the association with the occurrence and severity of OPLL were evaluated in 356 OPLL patients and 617 non-OPLL controls. In stably transfected mouse embryonic mesenchymal stem cells (C3H10T1/2), the expression levels of the BMPR-IA gene and Smad4 protein as well as phosphorylated Smad1/5/8 were detected by Western blotting. In addition, the alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and osteocalcin (OC) activity of osteogenesis specificity protein was assessed using the ALP quantitation and osteocalcin radioimmunoassay kit, respectively.
Results: The 4A > C and the -349C > T polymorphisms of BMPR-IA gene were significantly associated with the development of OPLL in the cervical spine. The C allele type in 4A > C polymorphism significantly increases the occurrence and the extent of OPLL. The T allele type in -349C > T polymorphism significantly increases the susceptibility to OPLL, but not the extent of OPLL. The current results further validate our previous observations. The expression levels of BMPR-IA gene were significantly increased in pcDNA3.1/BMPR-IA (mutation type, MT -349C > T; MT 4A > C; MT -349C > T and 4A > C) vector-transfected C3H10T1/2 cells compared to the wild type (WT) vector-transfected cells. The levels of phosphorylated Smad1/5/8 and ALP activity were significantly increased in pcDNA3.1/BMPR-IA (MT -349C > T) vector-transfected C3H10T1/2 cells compared to the WT vector-transfected cells. However, no significant differences were observed in the protein levels of phosphorylated Smad1/5/8 and the ALP activity between MT A/C and WT vector-transfected cells. In addition, no significant differences were observed in the Smad4 protein levels among the experimental groups, as well as in the OC activity between WT vector-transfected and MT C/T, MT A/C, MT C/T and MT A/C vector-transfected cells.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that Smad signaling pathway may play important roles in the pathological process of OPLL induced by SNPs in BMPR-IA gene. These results will help to clarify the molecular mechanisms underlying the SNP and gene susceptibility to OPLL.
Keywords: Bone morphogenetic protein receptor type IA; Gene transfection; Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament; Single nucleotide polymorphisms; Smad signaling pathway.