Osteocalcin (bone-gla protein, BGP), a non-collagenous protein from bone matrix, was suggested to be a reliable non-invasive marker for prevention and diagnosis in many bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Indeed, osteoporosis is one of the most common metabolic bone diseases resulting in bone loss responsible for vertebral or femoral fractures in post-menopausal women or in women and men over 70 years. For example, in France, about 30.000 hip fractures per year were reported in osteoporotic people and about 1.000.000 women were carriers of vertebral crushes. In Sweden, the Netherlands and Great Britain, similar incidences were described.
The aim of the project is to employ the techniques of genetic engineering and cell biology to produce purified human osteocalcin. The cDNA coding for osteocalcin will be cloned and appropriate vectors will be tried to express the cDNA in eukaryotic cells. Additionally, the possibility of obtaining osteocalcin route from osteoblast cultures will be investigated.
The project has started in 1990. Using polymerase chain reaction and specific oligonucleotides as primers, amplification of the human BGP gene sequences was successfully achieved. The human BGP gene was then cloned in the pBR 322 plasmid and ligated to an eukaryotic expression vector. Gene transfer experiments are in progress. At the completion of the project, a limited amount of purified material should be available for further studies.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts