The bone morphogenetic protein BMP2 has an important function in the
production and regeneration of bone and cartilage, which is vital in
maintaining skeletal integrity and bone fracture repair. Thus, BMP2 is
commercially produced for clinical use. Researchers from Embrapa Recursos
Genéticos e Biotecnologia, Brazil, and partners attempted to express human
BMP2 in two plant systems, the lettuce chloroplast and soybean seeds.
The researchers introduced the rhBMP2 gene in two locations of the lettuce
chloroplast genome. Analysis showed that BMP2 gene was transcribed but did
not accumulate in the leaves.
On the other hand, two soybean events successfully expressed hBMP2 in the
transgenic seeds. The recombinant BMP2 protein was administered to C2C12
cell cultures, which induced an osteogenic cascade as manifested in the
improved expression of SP7 (osterix) and ALPI (alkaline phosphatase) genes.
The findings suggest that soybeans can be used to produce functional
therapeutic proteins like BMP2.