Multidisciplinary program to elucidate the role of bone morphogenetic protein signaling

European Coordinator:
  • Nicholas MORRELL, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine (UK)
North American Coordinator:
  • Kenneth BLOCH († 13/9/2014)/Donald B. BLOCH, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (USA)
  • Akiko HATA, University of California, San Francisco (USA)
  • James SMITH, The Francis Crick Institute, London (UK)
  • Peter TEN DIJKE, Leiden University Medical Center (The Netherlands)
  • Paul YU, Harvard Medical School, Boston (USA)

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are a family of proteins important in blood vessel development. BMPs act by binding to receptors on cells, which in turn trigger downstream signals in the cells. Disturbances in these signals appear to be important in the development of vascular diseases. For instance, abnormal BMP is associated with atherosclerosis and calcium deposits in blood vessels. In another example, mutations in a BMP receptor have been found in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension, a condition with no satisfactory treatment in which the arteries of the lungs tighten up and restrict blood flow, leading to heart failure.

The members of this network will share their expertise using techniques to inhibit the action of BMP, to generate cells with mutations in BMP receptors and to visualize BMP signaling in living cells. Working together, the investigators hope to accelerate our understanding of BMP signaling in blood vessels and apply this knowledge to develop therapies for vascular disease.