Chemotactic activity of the γ-carboxyglutamic acid containing protein in bone

Gregory R. Mundy, James W. Poser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


We have found that the γ-carboxyglutamic acid (GLA)-containing protein from bone (BGP, osteocalcin) has chemotactic activity in vitro for a number of cells which are found adjacent to endosteal bone surfaces in vivo. Using the Boyden chamber technique for measuring cell chemotaxis in vitro, we have shown that BGP is chemotactic for cultured human breast cancer cells, human and mouse monocytes, and for cultured rat osteosarcoma cells which have the characteristics of osteoblasts. The migration of these cells in response to BGP is unidirectional and not due to spontaneous or random migration. A synthetic peptide (Phe-Tyr-Gly-Pro-Val), which is identical to the carboxyterminal peptide cleaved from BGP when digested by trypsin, is also chemotactic for the same cells. BGP retains its chemotactic activity after conversion of the γ-carboxyglutamic acid residues to glutamic acid, indicating that this biological effect requires neither γ-carboxyglutamate nor the ability of BGP to bind calcium. Since BGP is released from bone during states of increased bone turnover, it is possible that this chemotactic effect of the protein may be a mechanism for recruitment of these cells to sites of active bone remodeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-168
Number of pages5
JournalCalcified tissue international
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1983


  • Bone Gla protein
  • Breast cancer
  • Chemotaxis
  • Monocytes
  • Osteoblasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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