Dynamin-dependent endocytosis of Bone Morphogenetic Protein2 (BMP2) and its receptors is dispensable for the initiation of Smad signaling

Pia Paarmann, Gina Dörpholz, Juliane Fiebig, Ayelet R. Amsalem, Marcelo Ehrlich, Yoav I. Henis, Thomas Müller, Petra Knaus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) signal transduction via the canonical Smad158 pathway has previously been linked to dynamin-dependent endocytosis, since the application of chemical inhibitors of clathrin or dynamin in functional cell culture based assays negatively affects initiation and propagation of the Smad response. More recent studies, however, demonstrated efficient Smad signaling by non-internalizable BMP2. The role of endocytosis in BMP signal transduction thus remained controversial. In our study we aimed to refine cell biological assays and to apply novel tools, including a new site-directed fluorescently labeled BMP2 ligand, to revisit key steps in BMP Smad signaling. We found that dynamin2 function was required for BMP2 uptake but was dispensable for C-terminal phosphorylation, nuclear translocation and transcriptional activity of BMP-dependent Smads. Furthermore, we demonstrated a role of dynamin2 in the regulation of steady-state and surface BMP receptor levels, as well as an impact on Smad1 protein level. Thus, dynamin2 allows for modulation of basal and ligand-dependent Smad signaling capacity. High levels of functional dynamin2 enhanced the myogenic differentiation of precursor cells. From our study we conclude that dynamin-dependent endocytosis serves as a regulatory mechanism to fine-tune Smad signaling, but it is not a prerequisite for signal initiation and propagation. Our findings contribute to the understanding of fundamental mechanisms of BMP signaling and thus provide important information for future consideration in the context of therapeutic applications of BMPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-63
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • BMP signaling
  • Dynamin
  • Endocytosis
  • Smad


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