The Journal of biological chemistry

Matrix GLA protein, a regulatory protein for bone morphogenetic protein-2.

PMID 11741887


Matrix GLA protein (MGP) has been identified as a calcification inhibitor in cartilage and vasculature. Part of this effect may be attributed to its influence on osteoinductive activity of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2). To detect binding between MGP and BMP-2, we performed immunoprecipitation using MGP and BMP-2 tagged with FLAG and c-Myc. The results showed co-precipitation of BMP-2 with MGP. To quantify the effect of MGP on BMP-2 activity, we assayed for alkaline phosphatase activity and showed a dose-dependent effect. Low levels of MGP relative to BMP-2 (<1-fold excess) resulted in mild enhancement of osteoinduction, whereas intermediate levels (1-15-fold excess) resulted in strong inhibition. High levels of MGP (>15-fold excess), however, resulted in pronounced enhancement of the osteoinductive effect of BMP-2. Cross-linking studies showed that inhibitory levels of MGP abolished BMP-2 receptor binding. Immunoblotting showed a corresponding decrease in activation of Smad1, part of the BMP signaling system. Enhancing levels of MGP resulted in increased Smad1 activation. To determine the cellular localization of BMP-2 in the presence of MGP, binding assays were performed on whole cells and cell-synthesized matrix. Inhibitory levels of MGP yielded increased matrix binding of BMP-2, suggesting that MGP inhibits BMP-2 in part via matrix association. These results suggest that MGP is a BMP-2 regulatory protein.