Association of Functionally Different RUNX2 P2 Promoter Alleles with BMD
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RUNX2 gene SNPs were genotyped in subjects from the upper and lower deciles of age- and weight-adjusted femoral neck BMD. Of 16 SNPs in RUNX2 and its two promoters (P1 and P2), only SNPs in the P2 promoter were significantly associated with BMD. These P2 promoter SNPs were functionally different in gel-shift and promoter activity assays. INTRODUCTION: Specific osteoblast genes are induced by Runx2, a cell-specific transcription factor that is a candidate gene for controlling BMD. We tested the hypothesis that RUNX2 genetic variation is associated with BMD. MATERIALS AND METHODS: From a population repository of normal subjects, the age- and weight-adjusted femoral neck BMD was ranked, and the upper and lower deciles (n = 132 each) were taken to represent the adjusted extremes of the population distribution. In these 264 subjects, we identified 16 allelic variations within the RUNX2 gene and promoters (P1 and P2) through DNA sequencing and denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography. Characterization of these alleles was performed through allele-specific cloning, transfection into ROS 17/2.8 cells, luciferase reporter analysis, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays. RESULTS: Within the P2 promoter were three polymorphic nucleotides for which the minor alleles were over-represented in the upper decile of BMD (0.117 and 0.064 in the upper and lower deciles, respectively). These alleles are in near complete linkage disequilibrium with each other and represent a haplotype block that is significantly associated with increased BMD. The common and rare P2 promoter alleles were cloned upstream of luciferase, and when transfected into osteoblast-like cells, the construct representing the rare haplotype showed significantly greater P2 promoter activity than the common haplotype. CONCLUSIONS: Because the high BMD allele had higher P2 promoter activity, the data suggest that greater RUNX2 P2 promoter activity is associated with higher BMD.
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research