The extracellular matrix protein Fibulin-1 (Fbln1) has been shown to be involved in numerous processes including cardiovascular and lung development. Here we have examined the role of Fbln1 in bone formation. Alizarin red staining of skulls from Fbln1-deficient mice showed reduced mineralization of both membranous and endochondral bones. MicroCT (μCT) analysis of the calvarial bones (i.e., frontal, parietal and interparietal bones collectively) indicated that bone volume in Fbln1 nulls at neonatal stage P0 were reduced by 22% (p = 0.015). Similarly, Fbln1 null frontal bones showed a 16% (p = 0.035) decrease in bone volume, with a reduction in the interfrontal bone, and a discontinuity in the leading edge of the frontal bone. To determine whether Fbln1 played a role in osteoblast differentiation during bone formation, qPCR was used to measure the effects of Fbln1 deficiency on the expression of Osterix (Osx), a transcription factor essential for osteoblast differentiation. This analysis demonstrated that Osx mRNA was significantly reduced in Fbln1-deficient calvarial bones at developmental stages E16.5 (p = 0.049) and E17.5 (p = 0.022). Furthermore, the ability of Bmp-2 to induce Osx expression was significantly diminished in Fbln1-deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts. Together, these findings indicate that Fbln1 is a new positive modulator of the formation of membranous bone and endochondral bone in the skull, acting as a positive regulator of Bmp signaling.
- Extracellular matrix protein
- Osteoblast differentiation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism