Vertebrate skeletogenesis involves two processes, skeletal patterning and osteoblast differentiation. Here, we show that Satb2, encoding a nuclear matrix protein, is expressed in branchial arches and in cells of the osteoblast lineage. Satb2-/- mice exhibit both craniofacial abnormalities that resemble those observed in humans carrying a translocation in SATB2 and defects in osteoblast differentiation and function. Multiple osteoblast-specific genes were identified as targets positively regulated by SATB2. In addition, SATB2 was found to repress the expression of several Hox genes including Hoxa2, an inhibitor of bone formation and regulator of branchial arch patterning. Molecular analysis revealed that SATB2 directly interacts with and enhances the activity of both Runx2 and ATF4, transcription factors that regulate osteoblast differentiation. This synergy was genetically confirmed by bone formation defects in Satb2/Runx2 and Satb2/Atf4 double heterozygous mice. Thus, SATB2 acts as a molecular node in a transcriptional network regulating skeletal development and osteoblast differentiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)