, Volume 87, Issue 3, pp 273-283

A Rationale for Osteoclast Selectivity of Inhibiting the Lysosomal V-ATPase a3 Isoform

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Osteoclastic bone resorption can be completely abolished by inhibiting the vacuolar H+-ATPase (V-ATPase), a proton pump composed of at least 12 different subunits. However, V-ATPases are ubiquitous and it is unclear whether the osteoclast V-ATPase has a unique composition that would allow its selective inhibition. Aiming to answer this question, we compared human osteoclasts and monocytic THP.1 cells with respect to the localization of the a3 isoform of the 116-kDa subunit, which is indispensable for bone resorption, and sensitivity to SB242784, a V-ATPase inhibitor that prevents experimentally induced osteoporosis. By immunofluorescence, a3 was essentially nondetectable in THP.1 cells, while in osteoclasts a3 was highly upregulated and localized to lysosomes in nonresorbing osteoclasts. We isolated the lysosomal compartment from both sources as latex bead-containing phagolysosomes and compared them. Osteoclast phagolysosomes and THP.1 phagolysosomes both contained a3 and a1; however, the a3/a1 ratio was 3.8- to 11.2-fold higher in osteoclast phagolysosomes. Importantly, the V-ATPase-dependent acidification of phagolysosomes from both sources was essentially equally sensitive to SB242784. Thus, we observed no indication of a qualitative uniqueness of the osteoclast V-ATPase; rather, the high a3-level in osteoclasts may represent an upregulation of the common lysosomal V-ATPase. Our results, together with the reported phenotype of a3 deficiency and the reported efficacy of SB242784 in vivo, suggest that V-ATPase structure-independent mechanisms render bone resorption more sensitive than lysosomal function to V-ATPase inhibition. One such mechanism may be compensation of a3 by a1, which may be sufficient for retaining lysosomal function but not bone resorption.

The authors have stated that they have no conflict of interest.