Date: 27 Jun 2013

Multisystemic Functions of Alkaline Phosphatases

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Human and mouse alkaline phosphatases (AP) are encoded by a multigene family expressed ubiquitously in multiple tissues. Gene knockout (KO) findings have helped define some of the precise exocytic functions of individual isozymes in bone, teeth, the central nervous system, and in the gut. For instance, deficiency in tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) in mice (Alpl −/− mice) and humans leads to hypophosphatasia (HPP), an inborn error of metabolism characterized by epileptic seizures in the most severe cases, caused by abnormal metabolism of pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (the predominant form of vitamin B6) and by hypomineralization of the skeleton and teeth featuring rickets and early loss of teeth in children or osteomalacia and dental problems in adults caused by accumulation of inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi). Enzyme replacement therapy with mineral-targeting TNAP prevented all the manifestations of HPP in mice, and clinical trials with this protein therapeutic are showing promising results in rescuing life-threatening HPP in infants. Conversely, TNAP induction in the vasculature during generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI), type II diabetes, obesity, and aging can cause medial vascular calcification. TNAP inhibitors, discussed extensively in this book, are in development to prevent pathological arterial calcification.

The brush border enzyme intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) plays an important role in fatty acid (FA) absorption, in protecting gut barrier function, and in determining the composition of the gut microbiota via its ability to dephosphorylate lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Knockout mice (Akp3 −/−) deficient in duodenal-specific IAP (dIAP) become obese, and develop hyperlipidemia and hepatic steatosis when fed a high-fat diet (HFD). These changes are accompanied by upregulation in the jejunal-ileal expression of the Akp6 IAP isozyme (global IAP, or gIAP) and concomitant upregulation of FAT/CD36, a phosphorylated fatty acid translocase thought to play a role in facilitating the transport of long-chain fatty acids into cells. gIAP, but not dIAP, is able to modulate the phosphorylation status of FAT/CD36. dIAP, even though it is expressed in the duodenum, is shed into the gut lumen and is active in LPS dephosphorylation throughout the gut lumen and in the feces. Akp3 −/− mice display gut dysbiosis and are more prone to dextran sodium sulfate-induced colitis than wild-type mice. Of relevance, oral administration of recombinant calf IAP prevents the dysbiosis and protects the gut from chronic colitis. Analogous to the role of IAP in the gut, TNAP expression in the liver may have a proactive role from bacterial endotoxin insult. Finally, more recent studies suggest that neuronal death in Alzheimer’s disease may also be associated with TNAP function on certain brain-specific phosphoproteins. This review recounts the established roles of TNAP and IAP and briefly discusses new areas of investigation related to multisystemic functions of these isozymes.