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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 12;8(4):e61213. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061213. Print 2013.

CD109 plays a role in osteoclastogenesis.

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Matrix Dynamics Group, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Osteoclasts are large multinucleated cells that arise from the fusion of cells from the monocyte/macrophage lineage. Osteoclastogenesis is mediated by macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and receptor activator of nuclear factor-kB ligand (RANKL) and involves a complex multistep process that requires numerous other elements, many of which remain undefined. The primary aim of this project was to identify novel factors which regulate osteoclastogenesis. To carry out this investigation, microarray analysis was performed comparing two pre-osteoclast cell lines generated from RAW264.7 macrophages: one that has the capacity to fuse forming large multinucleated cells and one that does not fuse. It was found that CD109 was up-regulated by>17-fold in the osteoclast forming cell line when compared to the cell line that does not fuse, at day 2 of the differentiation process. Results obtained with microarray were confirmed by RT-qPCR and Western blot analyses in the two cell lines, in the parental RAW264.7 cell line, as well as primary murine monocytes from bone marrow. A significant increase of CD109 mRNA and protein expression during osteoclastogenesis occurred in all tested cell types. In order to characterize the role of CD109 in osteoclastogenesis, CD109 stable knockdown cell lines were established and fusion of osteoclast precursors into osteoclasts was assessed. It was found that CD109 knockdown cell lines were less capable of forming large multinucleated osteoclasts. It has been shown here that CD109 is expressed in monocytes undergoing RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis. Moreover, when CD109 expression is suppressed in vitro, osteoclast formation decreases. This suggests that CD109 might be an important regulator of osteoclastogenesis. Further research is needed in order to characterize the role played by CD109 in regulation of osteoclast differentiation.

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