Zinc finger protein 521, a new player in bone formation

Eric Hesse, Riku Kiviranta, Meilin Wu, Hiroaki Saito, Kei Yamana, Diego Correa, Azeddine Atfi, Roland Baron

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

27 Scopus citations


Exploration of anabolic pathways in osteoblasts revealed that Zfp521, a 30-zinc finger protein, is highly expressed at the periphery of mesenchymal condensations and in developing bones. In these structures it is expressed in chondroblasts, prehypertrophic chondrocytes, the periosteum, osteoblasts, osteoblast precursors, and osteocytes. Forced expression of Zfp521 in osteoblasts in vivo increases bone formation and bone mass, whereas preliminary data suggest that germline deletion leads to osteopenia. In contrast, overexpressing Zfp521 in vitro antagonizes, and knockdown favors, osteoblast differentiation and nodule formation. Zfp521 expression is inhibited by bone morphogenetic protein-2 and stimulated by parathyroid hormone-related protein. Mechanistically, Zfp521 binds to Runx2, repressing its transcriptional activity. These data support the hypothesis that Zfp521 both opposes the progression of precursors and promotes the maturation and function of mature osteoblasts. The balance between Zfp521 and Runx2 may therefore contribute to the regulation of osteoblast differentiation and bone formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSkeletal Biology and Medicine
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781573317856
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Bone formation
  • Osteoblast
  • Runx2
  • Zfp521

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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