This presentation will focus on using microarray data on a clonal osteoblast cell model to analyze the early BMP-2 responsive genes, as well as some of the later genes regulated by BMP2 during different phases of mineralization. We will focus on the early phases of gene expression that occur after BMP2 signaling from 30 min up to 1 day. The hypothesis is that understanding how these early genes are regulated during the initial multilayering and growth phase of osteoblasts will lead to models of how BMP activity stimulates cell growth, cell migration, multilayering, matrix deposition and remodeling phase that allows subsequent mineralization. The Dlx2 and Dlx5 homeobox genes have been shown to be critical for bone formation both in vitro and in vivo. Both Dlx 2 and Dlx5 are activated within 15-30 minutes after BMP2 addition to the mouse 2T3 osteoblast model and primary fetal rat calvarial osteoblasts. The Dlx2 and Dlx5 genes stay elevated in the presence of BMP2 for up to 5 days, a time when overt mineralization is just beginning. To understand the genomic network that Dlx5 and Dlx2 regulate at the transcription level, we have taken an approach where we use a specific transcription repressor protein, Engrailed, ligated to the Dlx5 homeodomain. The idea is that this Eng-Dlx5 protein will interact with Dlx5 and possibly Dlx2 and related Dlx- regulated genes in vivo and down-regulate their transcriptional initiation. Using a microarray approach with over 5,000 known genes we can identify the genes that are directly and indirectly regulated by Dlx5 and Dlx2. This will allow us to build an initial genomic network of Dlx- regulated genes at the transcriptional level. We will present our model and preliminary efforts at understanding the genomic network regulated by this important BMP2-regulated transcription factor class in osteoblast biology.