Modulation of osteogenic differentiation by Escherichia coli-derived recombinant bone morphogenetic protein-2

AMB Express. 2022 Aug 10;12(1):106. doi: 10.1186/s13568-022-01443-5.


Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2), a key regulator of osteogenesis, induces the differentiation of mesenchymal cells into cartilage or bone tissues. Early orthopedic and dental studies often used mammalian cell-derived rhBMP-2, especially Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. However, CHO cell-derived rhBMP-2 (C-rhBMP-2) presents disadvantages such as high cost and low production yield. To overcome these problems, Escherichia coli-derived BMP-2 (E-rhBMP-2) was developed; however, the E-rhBMP-2-induced signaling pathways and gene expression profiles during osteogenesis remain unclear. Here, we investigated the E-rhBMP-2-induced osteogenic differentiation pattern in C2C12 cells and elucidated the difference in biological characteristics between E-rhBMP-2 and C-rhBMP-2 via surface plasmon resonance, western blotting, qRT-PCR, RNA-seq, and alkaline phosphatase assays. The binding affinities of E-rhBMP-2 and C-rhBMP-2 towards BMP receptors were similar, both being confirmed at the nanomolecular level. However, the phosphorylation of Smad1/5/9 at 3 h after treatment with E-rhBMP-2 was significantly lower than that on treatment with C-rhBMP-2. The expression profiles of osteogenic marker genes were similar in both the E-rhBMP-2 and C-rhBMP-2 groups, but the gene expression level in the E-rhBMP-2 group was lower than that in the C-rhBMP-2 group at each time point. Taken together, our results suggest that the osteogenic signaling pathways induced by E-rhBMP-2 and C-rhBMP-2 both follow the general Smad-signaling pathway, but the difference in intracellular phosphorylation intensity results in distinguishable transcription profiles on osteogenic marker genes and biological activities of each rhBMP-2. These findings provide an extensive understanding of the biological properties of E-rhBMP-2 and the signaling pathways during osteogenic differentiation.

Keywords: ALP assay; BMP receptor; Osteogenesis; Smad-signaling pathway; qRT-PCR; rhBMP-2.