Definition of Bone morphogenetic protein

Bone morphogenetic protein: A member of a superfamily of proteins that promote the formation of bone and the skeleton and help mend broken bones.

Although it was known that scrapings from healthy bone stimulated the healing of fractures, the nature of the regenerative mechanism remained a mystery until 1965 when Dr. Marshall Urist did an experiment in which he implanted demineralized, pulverized bone in a rabbit's muscle. Bone formed at the site. Dr. Urist called the protein responsible for this phenomenon "bone morphogenetic protein" (BMP).

There are a number of BMPs. One is called BMP1. It is not closely related to other known growth factors. The gene for BMP1 is located on chromosome 8 at band 8p21. Other members of the BMP family are numbered starting from BMP2. These BMPs are quite different from BMP1 and belong to a superfamily called transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta).


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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