BMP2, BMP4, and their receptors are expressed in the differentiating muscle tissues of mouse embryonic tongue.
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To investigate the role of bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) in the differentiation process of skeletal muscle, we analyzed the in vivo expression of BMP2 and BMP4, of BMP receptors (BMPR) IA, IB, and II, and of activin receptors (ActR) IA, II, and IIB in mouse tongue muscle between embryonic day 11 (E11) and E17. The mRNA expression levels for BMP2 were 5-fold to 11-fold greater than those for BMP4 between E13 and E17 (P < 0.05-0.01). Expression of the BMP2, BMPRIB, ActRIA, ActRII, and ActRIIB proteins was first observed at E13. Expression of BMP2 and BMPRIB was detected in the whole area of the differentiating muscle tissues identified by immunostaining for fast myosin heavy chain (fMHC), but that of ActRIA, ActRII, and ActRIIB was detected only in the peripheral area of the differentiating muscle tissues. In the E15 tongue, all of the BMPs, BMPRs, and ActRs studied herein were expressed in the whole area of the differentiating muscle tissues identified by immunostaining for fMHC. These results suggest that BMPs play a role in the differentiation of tongue muscle tissues at E15 but have little or no effect at E13.