The Journal of biological chemistry

Progranulin and a five transmembrane domain-containing receptor-like gene are the key components in receptor activator of nuclear factor κB (RANK)-dependent formation of multinucleated osteoclasts.

PMID 25406312


Homeostatic bone remodeling is vital to maintain healthy bone tissue. Although the receptor activator of nuclear factor κB ligand (RANKL)/RANK axis is considered the master regulator of osteoclastogenesis, the underlying mechanisms including cell fusion remain incompletely defined. Here, we introduce a new axis in the formation of multinucleated cells via RANK signaling: the progranulin (PGRN)/PIRO (PGRN-induced receptor-like gene during osteoclastogenesis) axis. When mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages were stimulated with PGRN in the presence of RANKL, explosive OC formation was observed. PGRN knockdown experiments suggested that endogenous PGRN is an essential component of the RANKL/RANK axis. Our efforts for identifying genes that are induced by PGRN unveiled a remarkably induced (20-fold) gene named PIRO. Substantial PGRN and PIRO expression was detected after 2 and 3 days, respectively, suggesting that their sequential induction. PIRO was predicted to be a five transmembrane domain-containing receptor-like molecule. The tissue distribution of PGRN and PIRO mRNA expression suggested that bone marrow cells are the most suitable niche. Mouse and human PIRO are part of a multigene family. Knockdown experiments suggested that PIRO is a direct target for the formation of multinucleated cells by PGRN. PGRN levels were also substantially higher in ovariectomized mice than in sham control mice. These observations suggest that PGRN and PIRO form a new regulatory axis in osteoclastogenesis that is included in RANK signaling in cell fusion and OC resorption of osteoclastogenesis, which may offer a novel therapeutic modality for osteoporosis and other bone-associated diseases.

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