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The transmembrane aminopeptidase CD13 is highly expressed in cells of the myeloid lineage, regulates dynamin-dependent receptor endocytosis and recycling and is a necessary component of actin cytoskeletal organization. Here, we show that CD13-deficient mice present a low bone density phenotype with increased numbers of osteoclasts per bone surface, but display a normal distribution of osteoclast progenitor populations in the bone marrow and periphery. In addition, the bone formation and mineral apposition rates are similar between genotypes, indicating a defect in osteoclast-specific function in vivo. Lack of CD13 led to exaggerated in vitro osteoclastogenesis as indicated by significantly enhanced fusion of bone marrow-derived multinucleated osteoclasts in the presence of M-CSF and RANKL, resulting in abnormally large cells containing remarkably high numbers of nuclei. Mechanistically, while expression levels of the fusion-regulatory proteins dynamin and DC-STAMP1 must be downregulated for fusion to proceed, these are aberrantly sustained at high levels even in CD13-deficient mature multi-nucleated osteoclasts. Further, the stability of fusion-promoting proteins is maintained in the absence of CD13, implicating CD13 in protein turnover mechanisms. Together, we conclude that CD13 may regulate cell-cell fusion by controlling the expression and localization of key fusion regulatory proteins that are critical for osteoclast fusion.


Mallika Ghosh, Tomislav Kelava, Ivana Vrhovac Madunic, Ivo Kalajzic, Linda H Shapiro. CD13 is a critical regulator of cell-cell fusion in osteoclastogenesis. Scientific reports. 2021 May 24;11(1):10736

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PMID: 34031489

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