Overlapping expression domains of bone morphogenetic protein family members potentially account for limited tissue defects in BMP7 deficient embryos

Dev Dyn. 1997 Mar;208(3):349-62. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0177(199703)208:3<349::AID-AJA6>3.0.CO;2-I.


BMP7 is expressed at diverse sites in the developing mouse embryo, including visceral endoderm, notochord, heart, eye, kidney, and bone. A null mutation in BMP7 results in defects largely confined to the developing kidney and eye. To examine whether other bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family members potentially substitute for BMP7 in mutant embryos, thereby restricting the observed defects, we analyzed the expression patterns of BMP2 through BMP7 in wild-type and mutant tissues. In the central nervous system and heart, which develop normally in the absence of BMP7 signaling, expression domains of other BMP family members completely overlap with that of BMP7. The variable expressivity of the eye defect correlates with partially overlapping BMP4 and BMP7 expression domains during early eye induction. The loss of BMP7 signaling in the kidney results in apoptosis in the metanephric mesenchyme, a cell population that exclusively expresses BMP7. Thus, tissue defects observed in BMP7 deficient embryos are restricted to cell populations exclusively expressing BMP7. These data suggest that BMP family members can functionally substitute for BMP7 at sites where they colocalize in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 7
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / metabolism*
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / physiology*
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Ectoderm / metabolism
  • Eye / metabolism*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Notochord / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta*


  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 7
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta