In vivo overexpression of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase increases skeletal mineralization and affects the phosphorylation status of osteopontin


Sonoko Narisawa, Manisha C. Yadav, José Luis Millán


Functional ablation of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) (Alpl-/- mice) leads to hypophosphatasia, characterized by rickets/osteomalacia attributable to elevated levels of extracellular inorganic pyrophosphate, a potent mineralization inhibitor. Osteopontin (OPN) is also elevated in the plasma and skeleton of Alpl-/- mice. Phosphorylated OPN is known to inhibit mineralization, however, the phosphorylation status of the increased OPN found in Alpl-/- mice is unknown. Here, we generated a transgenic mouse line expressing human TNAP under control of an osteoblast-specific Col1a1 promoter (Col1a1-Tnap). The transgene is expressed in osteoblasts, periosteum, and cortical bones, and plasma levels of TNAP in mice expressing Col1a1-Tnap are 10-20 times higher than those of wild-type mice. The Col1a1-Tnap animals are healthy and exhibit increased bone mineralization by microCT analysis. Crossbreeding of Col1a1-Tnap transgenic mice to Alpl-/- mice rescues the lethal hypophosphatasia phenotype characteristic of this disease model. Osteoblasts from [Col1a1-Tnap] mice mineralize better than non-transgenic controls and osteoblasts from [Col1a1-Tnap+/-; Alpl-/-] mice are able to mineralize to the level of Alpl+/- heterozygous osteoblasts, while Alpl-/- osteoblasts show no mineralization. We found that the increased levels of OPN in bone tissue of Alpl-/- mice are comprised of phosphorylated forms of OPN while WT and [Col1a1-Tnap+/-; Alpl-/-] mice had both phosphorylated and dephosphorylated forms of OPN. OPN from [Col1a1-Tnap] osteoblasts were more phosphorylated than non-transgenic control cells. Titanium dioxide-liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry analysis revealed that OPN peptides derived from Alpl-/- bone and osteoblasts yielded a higher proportion of phosphorylated peptides than samples from WT mice, and at least two phosphopeptides, p(S174FQVS178DEQY182PDAT186DEDLT191)SHMK and FRIp(S299HELES304S305S306S307)EVN, with one non-localized site each, appear to be preferred sites of TNAP action on OPN. Our data suggest that the pro-mineralization role of TNAP may be related not only to its accepted pyrophosphatase activity but also to its ability to modify the phosphorylation status of OPN.

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