The human osteoinductive proteins BMP-2a and BMP-2b have been cloned and expressed in mammalian cells. In order to improve expression levels we examined the role of the proregion in assembly and export. Use of the BMP-2a proregion combined with the mature region of BMP-2b leads to dramatically improved expression of mature BMP-2b. Mature BMP-2b has been purified to near homogeneity from the BMP-2a/2b hybrid, and its structural properties and biological activity determined. Recombinant mature BMP-2b homodimer elicits bone formation in vivo.