Abnormalities of phosphoprotein gene expression in three osteopetrotic rat mutations: elevated mRNA transcripts, protein synthesis, and accumulation in bone of mutant animals

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology

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Document Type



Animals; Bone and Bones; *Gene Expression; *Mutation; Osteopetrosis; Osteopontin; Phosphoproteins; RNA, Messenger; Rats; Rats, Mutant Strains; Sialoglycoproteins


Cell Biology


Osteoclast abnormalities that characterize osteopetrosis, a disorder of bone resorption, may derive from aberrant signals from the osteoblast or the bone matrix. In the present studies, both synthesis and the bone matrix content of the major bone phosphoprotein component, osteopontin, were found to be elevated in three osteopetrotic rat mutations (ia, op, and tl). In whole bone, a twofold increase in the content of the characteristic amino acid O-phosphoserine for osteopontin occurred in op and tl mutant long bone, but a smaller (15%) and more variable increase was observed in ia mutant rat long bone. Extraction of the bone matrix components and partial purification by reverse phase chromatography showed a twofold increase in a phosphoprotein fraction relative to other noncollagenous components. Amino acid analysis and staining characteristics of SDS-PAGE fractionated proteins indicated this to be osteopontin. Organ cultures of calvarial bone from 4 day ia osteopetrotic mutant and normal rats in the presence of 3H-proline showed increased synthesis of this 60 kD protein, which was stimulated by vitamin D. Preparation of total cellular RNA from bone of 2- and 6-week-old mutants and normal rats supported increased synthesis of osteopontin as reflected by hybridization with osteopontin cDNA probe, showing significantly higher levels of mRNA transcripts in ia (3-5 fold), tl (1.4-2 fold), and op (6-25 fold) mutant bone compared to normal littermates. The changes in osteopontin mRNA levels in mutant bone were also examined in relation to other growth and phenotype-expressed genes. The findings of increased accumulation of osteopontin in osteopetrotic bone and increased synthesis by osteoblasts are interesting in light of the previously reported decrease in bone osteocalcin content (Endocrinology, 126:966, 1990), confirmed here by decreased osteocalcin mRNA transcripts. Such aberrations in the composition of skeletal extracellular matrix could be a reflection of or a contributing factor to the osteoclast abnormalities of some of these osteopetrotic disorders.

DOI of Published Version



J Cell Physiol. 1994 Jan;158(1):110-20. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of cellular physiology

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