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Regulated proteolysis of nonmuscle myosin IIA stimulates osteoclast fusion.

McMichael B.K., Wysolmerski R.B., Lee B.S.

The nonmuscle myosin IIA heavy chain (Myh9) is strongly associated with adhesion structures of osteoclasts. In this study, we demonstrate that during osteoclastogenesis, myosin IIA heavy chain levels are temporarily suppressed, an event that stimulates the onset of cell fusion. This suppression is not mediated by changes in mRNA or translational levels but instead is due to a temporary increase in the rate of myosin IIA degradation. Intracellular activity of cathepsin B is significantly enhanced at the onset of osteoclast precursor fusion, and specific inhibition of its activity prevents myosin IIA degradation. Further, treatment of normal cells with cathepsin B inhibitors during the differentiation process reduces cell fusion and bone resorption capacity, whereas overexpression of cathepsin B enhances fusion. Ongoing suppression of the myosin IIA heavy chain via RNA interference results in formation of large osteoclasts with significantly increased numbers of nuclei, whereas overexpression of myosin IIA results in less osteoclast fusion. Increased multinucleation caused by myosin IIA suppression does not require RANKL. Further, knockdown of myosin IIA enhances cell spreading and lessens motility. These data taken together strongly suggest that base-line expression of nonmuscle myosin IIA inhibits osteoclast precursor fusion and that a temporary, cathepsin B-mediated decrease in myosin IIA levels triggers precursor fusion during osteoclastogenesis.

J. Biol. Chem. 284:12266-12275(2009) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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