Oral and maxillofacial surgery is often challenging due to defective bone healing owing to the microbial environment of the oral cavity, the additional involvement of teeth and esthetic concerns. Insufficient bone volume as a consequence of aging and some oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures, such as tumor resection of the jaw, may further impact facial esthetics and cause the failure of certain procedures, such as oral and maxillofacial implantation. Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) 9 (BMP9) is one of the most effective BMPs to induce the osteogenic differentiation of different stem cells. A large cross-talk network that includes the BMP9, Wnt/β, Hedgehog, EGF, TGF-β and Notch signaling pathways finely regulates osteogenesis induced by BMP9. Epigenetic control during BMP9-induced osteogenesis is mainly dependent on histone deacetylases (HDACs), microRNAs (miRNAs) and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), which adds another layer of complexity. As a result, all these factors work together to orchestrate the molecular and cellular events underlying BMP9-related tissue engineering. In this review, we summarize our current understanding of the SMAD-dependent and SMAD-independent BMP9 pathways, with a particular focus on cross-talk and cross-regulation between BMP9 and other major signaling pathways in BMP9-induced osteogenesis. Furthermore, recently discovered epigenetic regulation of BMP9 pathways and the molecular and cellular basis of the application of BMP9 in tissue engineering in current oral and maxillofacial surgery and other orthopedic-related clinical settings are also discussed.

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