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Genes Cells. 2010 Oct;15(10):1025-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2010.01441.x. Epub 2010 Sep 10.

Transcriptionally active nuclei are selective in mature multinucleated osteoclasts.

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Laboratory of Nuclear Signaling, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan.


Multinucleation is indispensable for the bone-resorbing activity of mature osteoclasts. Although multinucleation is evident in mature osteoclasts and certain other cell types, putative regulatory networks among nuclei remain poorly characterized. To address this issue, transcriptional activity of each nucleus in a multinucleated osteoclast was assessed by detecting the distributions of nuclear proteins by immunocytochemistry and primary transcripts by RNA FISH. Patterns of epigenetic histone markers governing transcription as well as localization of tested nuclear receptor proteins appeared indistinguishable among nuclei in differentiated Raw264 cells and mouse mature osteoclasts. However, RNAPII-Ser5P/2P and NFATc1 proteins were selectively distributed in certain nuclei in the same cell. Similarly, the distributions of primary transcripts for osteoclast-specific genes (Nfatc1, Ctsk and Acp5) as well as a housekeeping gene (beta-tubulin) were limited in certain nuclei within individual cells. By fusing two Raw264 cell lines that stably expressed ZsGreen-NLS and DsRed-NLS proteins, transmission of nuclear proteins across all of the nuclei in a cell could be observed, presumably through the shared cytoplasm. Taken together, we conclude that although nuclear proteins are diffusible among nuclei, only certain nuclei within a multinucleated osteoclast are transcriptionally active.

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