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J Bone Miner Res. 2010 Sep;25(9):1907-21. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.89.

Function of OPG as a traffic regulator for RANKL is crucial for controlled osteoclastogenesis.

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Department of Pharmacy, The University of Tokyo Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


The amount of the receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) on the osteoblastic cell surface is considered to determine the magnitude of the signal input to osteoclast precursors and the degree of osteoclastogenesis. Previously, we have shown that RANKL is localized predominantly in lysosomal organelles, but little is found on the osteoblastic cell surface, and consequently, the regulated subcellular trafficking of RANKL in osteoblastic cells is important for controlled osteoclastogenesis. Here we have examined the involvement of osteoprotegerin (OPG), which is currently recognized as a decoy receptor for RANKL, in the regulation of RANKL behavior. It was suggested that OPG already makes a complex with RANKL in the Golgi apparatus and that the complex formation is necessary for RANKL sorting to the secretory lysosomes. It was also shown that each structural domain of OPG is indispensable for exerting OPG function as a traffic regulator. In particular, the latter domains of OPG, whose physiologic functions have been unclear, were indicated to sort RANKL molecules to lysosomes from the Golgi apparatus. In addition, the overexpression of RANK-OPG chimeric protein, which retained OPG function as a decoy receptor but lost the function as a traffic regulator, inhibited endogenous OPG function as a traffic regulator selectively in osteoblastic cells and resulted in the upregulation of osteoclastogenic ability despite the increased number of decoy receptor molecules. Conclusively, OPG function as a traffic regulator for RANKL is crucial for regulating osteoclastogenesis at least as well as that as a decoy receptor.

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