Runx2/Cbfa/AML3 is a member of the runt homology domain family of transcription factors, essential for osteoblast differentiation and bone formation. Defining the molecular mechanisms by which Runx2 can function as a master regulatory gene for activating the program of osteoblastogenesis has provided novel insights for transcriptional regulation of tissue-specific genes. Regulation of Runx expression has the potential to serve as a basis for the design of novel therapeutic strategies for promoting bone formation. Here we review the unique properties of Runx2 that mediate several key functions necessary for regulating skeletogenesis, controlling osteoblast growth and differentiation, and integrating the complex pathways required for bone formation and turnover.
Keywords: bone development, osteoblast differentiation, transcriptional control of bone formation, runx2, osteoporosis, nuclear targeting, runx coregulatory proteins, subnuclear domains, transcriptional complexes, bmp