Expression and activity of the CDK inhibitor p57Kip2 in chondrocytes undergoing hypertrophic differentiation

Matthew C. Stewart, Renata M. Kadlcek, Paul D. Robbins, James N. Macleod, R. Tracy Ballock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Growth plates of p57-null mice exhibit several abnormalities, including loss of collagen type X (CollX) expression. The phenotypic consequences of p57 expression were assessed in an in vitro model of hypertrophic differentiation. Adenoviral p57 expression was not sufficient for CollX expression but did augment induction of CollX by BMP-2. Introduction: During hypertrophic differentiation, chondrocytes pass from an actively proliferative state to a postmitotic, hypertrophic phenotype. The induction of growth arrest is a central feature of this phenotypic transition. Mice lacking the cyclin dependent-kinase inhibitor p57Kip2 exhibit several developmental abnormalities including chondrodysplasia. Although growth plate chondrocytes in p57-null mice undergo growth arrest, they do not express collagen type X, a specific marker of the hypertrophic phenotype. This study was carried out to investigate the link between p57 expression and the induction of collagen type X in chondrocytes and to determine whether p57 overexpression is sufficient for the induction of hypertrophic differentiation. Materials and Methods: Neonatal rat epiphyseal or growth plate chondrocytes were maintained in an aggregate culture model, in defined, serum-free medium. Protein and mRNA levels were monitored by Western and Northern blot analyses, respectively. Proliferative activity was assessed by fluorescent measurement of total DNA and by 3H-thymidine incorporation rates. An adenoviral vector was used to assess the phenotypic consequences of p57 expression. Results and Conclusions: During in vitro hypertrophic differentiation, levels of p57 mRNA and protein were constant despite changes in chondrocyte proliferative activity and the induction of hypertrophic-specific genes in response to bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2. Adenoviral p57 overexpression induced growth arrest in prehypertrophic epiphyseal chondrocytes in a dose-dependent manner but was not sufficient for the induction of collagen type X, either alone or when coexpressed with the related CDKI p21Cip1. Similar results were obtained with more mature tibial growth plate chondrocytes. p57 overexpression did augment collagen type X induction by BMP-2. These data indicate that p57-mediated growth arrest is not sufficient for expression of the hypertrophic phenotype, but rather it occurs in parallel with other aspects of the differentiation pathway. Our findings also suggest a contributing role for p57 in the regulation of collagen type X expression in differentiating chondrocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-132
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Collagen type X
  • Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor
  • Hypertrophic differentiation
  • P57

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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