Journal of cell science

Amorphous Ca²⁺ polyphosphate nanoparticles regulate the ATP level in bone-like SaOS-2 cells.

PMID 25908856


Polyphosphate (polyP) is a physiologically occurring polyanion that is synthesized especially in bone-forming osteoblast cells and blood platelets. We used amorphous polyP nanoparticles, complexed with Ca(2+), that have a globular size of ∼100 nm. Because polyP comprises inorganic orthophosphate units that are linked together through high-energy phosphoanhydride bonds, we questioned whether the observed morphogenetic effect, elicited by polyP, is correlated with the energy-generating machinery within the cells. We show that exposure of SaOS-2 osteoblast-like cells to polyP results in a strong accumulation of mitochondria and a parallel translocation of the polyP-degrading enzyme alkaline phosphatase to the cell surface. If SaOS-2 cells are activated by the mineralization activation cocktail (comprising β-glycerophosphate, ascorbic acid and dexamethasone) and additionally incubated with polyP, a tenfold intracellular increase of the ATP level occurs. Even more, in those cells, an intensified release of ATP into the extracellular space is also seen. We propose and conclude that polyP acts as metabolic fuel after the hydrolytic cleavage of the phosphoanhydride linkages, which contributes to hydroxyapatite formation on the plasma membranes of osteoblasts.