Osteopontin posttranslational modifications, possibly phosphorylation, are required for in vitro bone resorption but not osteoclast adhesion. Academic Article uri icon


  • Osteopontin (OPN), a phosphorylated bone matrix glycoprotein, is an Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD)-containing protein that interacts with integrins and promotes in vitro attachment of a number of cell types, including osteoclasts. Gene knockout experiments support the idea that OPN is important in osteoclastic activity. We hypothesize that posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of OPN can influence its physiological function. Previous studies have suggested that phosphorylation of OPN and bone sialoprotein (BSP) is necessary for promoting osteoclast adhesion. However, no reports have explored the importance of phosphoserines and other PTMs in OPN-promoted bone resorption. To study this question, we determined the activities of different forms of OPN and BSP in three in vitro assays: attachment of osteoclasts; formation of actin rings; and bone resorption. For each assay, cells were incubated for 4-24 h, in the presence or absence of RGDS or RGES peptides, to test the involvement of integrin binding. In addition to OPN, activities of milk OPN (fully phosphorylated) and recombinant OPN (rOPN, no phosphate) were compared. We purified two forms of OPN (OPN-2 and OPN-5), which differ in the level of phosphorylation, and compared their activities. For comparison, the activities of BSP and recombinant BSP (rBSP) were determined. All forms of OPN, including rOPN, significantly increased attachment of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP)-positive osteoclasts. BSP and rBSP also promoted cell attachment. After 4 h of incubation, the proportion of cells with actin rings was increased with OPN, milk OPN, and BSP. In the presence of RGDS peptide, osteoclast retraction and the disruption of actin rings were observed, whereas no effect was seen with RGES. In the resorption assay, the number of pits and the total resorbed area per slice were increased in the presence of OPN, milk OPN, and BSP. As in other assays, the OPN enhancement of resorption was inhibited by RGDS, but not RGES, peptides. Significantly, rOPN and rBSP did not promote bone resorption. OPN-5 promoted resorption to a greater extent than OPN-2, and milk OPN significantly stimulated resorption to a greater extent than OPN. Our data suggest that: (1) the RGD sequence of OPN is essential in OPN-mediated cell attachment, actin ring formation, and bone resorption; and (2) some form of PTM, possibly phosphorylation, is necessary for in vitro osteoclastic bone resorption, but not for cell attachment and actin ring formation.

published proceedings

  • Bone

author list (cited authors)

  • Razzouk, S., Brunn, J. C., Qin, C., Tye, C. E., Goldberg, H. A., & Butler, W. T.

citation count

  • 81

complete list of authors

  • Razzouk, S||Brunn, JC||Qin, C||Tye, CE||Goldberg, HA||Butler, WT

publication date

  • January 2002

published in