Much of the mammalian skeleton is composed of bones that originate fromcartilage templates through endochondral ossification. Elucidating the mechanisms that control endochondral bone development is critical for understanding human skeletal diseases, injury response, and aging. Mouse genetic studies in the past 15 years have provided unprecedented insights about molecules regulating chondrocyte formation, chondrocyte maturation, and osteoblast differentiation, all key processes of endochondral bone development. These include the roles of the secreted proteins IHH, PTHrP, BMPs, WNTs, and FGFs, their receptors, and transcription factors such as SOX9, RUNX2, and OSX, in regulating chondrocyte and osteoblast biology. This review aims to integrate the known functions of extracellular signals and transcription factors that regulate development of the endochondral skeleton.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


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