The long bones of vertebrate limbs originate from cartilage templates and are formed by the process of endochondral ossification. This process requires that chondrocytes undergo a progressive maturation from proliferating to postmitotic prehypertrophic to mature, hypertrophic chondrocytes. Coordinated control of proliferation and maturation regulates growth of the skeletal elements. Various signals and pathways have been implicated in orchestrating these processes, but the underlying intracellular molecular mechanisms are often not entirely known. Here we demonstrated in the chick using replication-competent retroviruses that constitutive activation of Calcium/Calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) in the developing wing resulted in elongation of skeletal elements associated with premature differentiation of chondrocytes. The premature maturation of chondrocytes was a cell-autonomous effect of constitutive CaMKII signaling associated with down-regulation of cell-cycle regulators and up-regulation of chondrocyte maturation markers. In contrast, the elongation of the skeletal elements resulted from a non-cell autonomous up-regulation of the Indian hedgehog responsive gene encoding Parathyroid-hormone-related peptide. Reduction of endogenous CaMKII activity by overexpressing an inhibitory peptide resulted in shortening of the skeletal elements associated with a delay in chondrocyte maturation. Thus, CaMKII is an essential component of intracellular signaling pathways regulating chondrocyte maturation. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Taschner, M. J., Rafigh, M., Lampert, F., Schnaiter, S., & Hartmann, C. (2008). Ca2+/Calmodulin-dependent kinase II signaling causes skeletal overgrowth and premature chondrocyte maturation. Developmental Biology, 317(1), 132–146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.02.007