Using molecular, cellular, and genetic approaches, recent studies examining the role of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family of growth factors in the reproductive system have led to significant breakthroughs in our understanding of mammalian reproduction and fertility. Gene expression studies have revealed that key components of the BMP system (ligands, receptors, signaling molecules, and binding proteins) exhibit coordinated spatial and temporal expression patterns in fundamental cell types throughout the reproductive system. Availability of recombinant BMPs has enabled functional studies that have demonstrated important biological activities of BMPs in controlling cellular proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in reproductive tissues. The physiological importance of the BMP system for mammalian reproduction has been further highlighted by the elucidation of the aberrant reproductive phenotypes of animals with naturally occurring mutations or targeted deletions of certain BMP family genes. Collectively, these studies have established the concept that the BMP system plays a crucial role in fertility in female and male mammals. The purpose of this article is to review the evidence underpinning the importance of the BMP system in mammalian reproduction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism