Noggin is a secreted protein involved at multiple stages of vertebrate embryonic development including neural induction and is known to exert its effects by inhibiting the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-signaling pathway. It binds several BMPs with very high (picomolar) affinities, with a marked preference for BMP2 and BMP4 over BMP7. By binding tightly to BMPs, Noggin prevents BMPs from binding their receptors. Noggin binds the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP) such as BMP-4 and BMP-7, and inhibits BMP signaling by blocking the molecular interfaces of the binding epitopes for both type I and type II receptors. Interaction of BMP and its antagonist Noggin governs various developmental and cellular processes, including embryonic dorsal-ventral axis, induction of neural tissue, formation of joints in the skeletal system and neurogenesis in the adult brain. Noggin plays a key role in neural induction by inhibiting BMP4, along with other TGF-β signaling inhibitors such as chordin and follistatin. Mouse knockout experiments have demonstrated that noggin also plays a crucial role in bone development, joint formation, and neural tube fusion.
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