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Revista de Osteoporosis y Metabolismo Mineral

On-line version ISSN 2173-2345Print version ISSN 1889-836X


MARTINEZ-GIL, N et al. Functional studies of DKK1 variants present in the general population. Rev Osteoporos Metab Miner [online]. 2018, vol.10, n.4, pp.119-124. ISSN 2173-2345.


In recent decades, genes associated with bone mass and osteoporotic fracture risk have been identified, several of which belong to the Wnt pathway. In this project, the functionality of 7 missense mutations of the gene DKK1 –an inhibitor of the Wnt pathway– present in the general population was studied.

Materials and methods:

In vitro studies of the luciferase reporter gene were carried out to measure Wnt pathway activity in the presence or absence of wild-type or mutated DKK1, and western blot studies, to evaluate if the different mutations affect its synthesis and/or stability.


The DKK1 protein with the p.Ala41Thr variant shows lower pathway inhibitory activity compared to the wild-type protein. Significant differences were also observed between the experiments performed in the absence of DKK1 and those that include DKK1 with the p.Ala41Thr mutation. Western blots showed that the amount of protein was similar for all variants, both mutated and "wild-type, so the loss of p.Ala41Thr activity did not seem to be due to a lack of protein. The rest of the mutations did not show different behavior from that of the wild DKK1 protein.


The missense variant p.Ala41Thr of the DKK1 protein, with a population frequency of 0.013%, shows a partial loss of its inhibitory function, which is not due to the lack of expression. This gene variant could lead to an increase in bone mineral density in those people in the general population who carry this mutation.

Keywords : DKK1; functional studies; missense variants; luciferase; Wnt pathway; High Bone Mass (HBM); osteoporosis.

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