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1.  Inorganic pyrophosphatase induces type I collagen in osteoblasts 
Bone  2009;46(1):81.
The physiologic selectivity of calcification in bone tissue reflects selective co-expression by osteoblasts of fibrillar collagen I and of tissue nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP), which hydrolyzes the calcification inhibitor pyrophosphate (PPi) and generates phosphate (Pi). Humans and mice deficient in the PPi-generating ecto-enzyme NPP1 demonstrate soft tissue calcification, occurring at sites of extracellular matrix expansion. Significantly, the function in osteoblasts of cytosolic inorganic pyrophosphatase (abbreviated iPPiase), which generates Pi via PPi hydrolysis with neutral pH optimum, remains unknown. We assessed iPPiase in Enpp1−/− and wild type (WT) mouse osteoblasts and we tested the hypothesis that iPPiase regulates collagen I expression.
We treated mouse calvarial osteoblasts with ascorbate and β-glycerol phosphate to promote calcification, and we assessed cytosolic Pi and PPi levels, sodium-dependent Pi uptake, Pit-1 Pi co-transporter expression, and iPPiase and TNAP activity and expression. We also assessed the function of transfected Ppa1 in osteoblasts.
Inorganic pyrophosphatase but not TNAP was elevated in Enpp1−/− calvariae in situ. Cultured primary Enpp1−/− calvarial osteoblasts demonstrated increased calcification despite flat TNAP activity rather than physiologic TNAP up-regulation seen in WT osteoblasts. Despite decreased cytosolic PPi in early culture, Enpp1−/− osteoblasts maintained cytosolic Pi levels comparable to WT osteoblasts, in association with increased iPPiase, enhanced sodium-dependent Pi uptake and expression of Pit-1, and markedly increased collagen I synthesis. Suppression of collagen synthesis in Enpp1−/− osteoblasts using 3,4-dehydroproline markedly suppressed calcification. Last, transfection of Ppa1 in WT osteoblasts increased cytosolic Pi and decreased cytosolic but not extracellular PPi, and induced both collagen I synthesis and calcification.
Increased iPPiase is associated with “Pi hunger” and increased calcification by NPP1-deficient osteoblasts. Furthermore, iPPiase induces collagen I at the levels of mRNA expression and synthesis and, unlike TNAP, stimulates calcification by osteoblasts without reducing the extracellular concentration of the hydroxyapatite crystal inhibitor PPi.
PMCID: PMC2818162  PMID: 19733704
PPi; Pi; Tissue-Nonspecific Alkaline Phosphatase; Calcification; Enpp1
2.  High-Throughput Screening of Tissue-Nonspecific Alkaline Phosphatase for Identification of Effectors with Diverse Modes of Action 
Nature protocols  2010;5(8):1431-1439.
A protocol for the identification of effectors of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) is described. It is based on highly sensitive method for detecting TNAP activity. A dioxetane-based substrate after dephosphorylation by TNAP undergoes a series of chemical transformations resulting in light production. The light intensity serves as a quantitative measure of the velocity of the TNAP catalysed reaction in the steady state. The protocol includes guidelines for the optimization of the assay and execution of the high-throughput screening in multiwell plates. The assay is sensitive to the influence of diverse effectors of TNAP as long as the assay optimization steps are repeated for each new batch of the enzyme; full optimization is accomplished in under two days. Depending on the available equipment 10,000-100,000 compounds could be screened in 8-hour period. This protocol provides thousands-fold more sensitive and tenfold faster way of screening TNAP, when compared with a conventional colorimetric assay with p-nitrophenyl phosphate.
PMCID: PMC3908691  PMID: 20671726
alkaline phosphatase; chemiluminescent assay; enzyme assay; functional assay; high-throughput screening
3.  Assay Format as a Critical Success Factor for Identification of Novel Inhibitor Chemotypes of Tissue-Nonspecific Alkaline Phosphatase from High-Throughput Screening 
Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)  2010;15(5):3010-3037.
The tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) isozyme is centrally involved in the control of normal skeletal mineralization and pathophysiological abnormalities that lead to disease states such as hypophosphatasia, osteoarthritis, ankylosis and vascular calcification. TNAP acts in concert with the nucleoside triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase-1 (NPP1) and the Ankylosis protein to regulate the extracellular concentrations of inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi), a potent inhibitor of mineralization. In this review we describe the serial development of two miniaturized high-throughput screens (HTS) for TNAP inhibitors that differ in both signal generation and detection formats, but more critically in the concentrations of a terminal alcohol acceptor used. These assay improvements allowed the rescue of the initially unsuccessful screening campaign against a large small molecule chemical library, but moreover enabled the discovery of several unique classes of molecules with distinct mechanisms of action and selectivity against the related placental (PLAP) and intestinal (IAP) alkaline phosphatase isozymes. This illustrates the underappreciated impact of the underlying fundamental assay configuration on screening success, beyond mere signal generation and detection formats.
PMCID: PMC3392958  PMID: 20657462
diethanolamine (DEA); absorption spectroscopy; luminescence; high throughput screening; CDP-Star®; Molecular Libraries; tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase; alkaline phosphatase; chemical library; para-nitrophenylphosphate
4.  Central Role of Pyrophosphate in Acellular Cementum Formation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38393.
Inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi) is a physiologic inhibitor of hydroxyapatite mineral precipitation involved in regulating mineralized tissue development and pathologic calcification. Local levels of PPi are controlled by antagonistic functions of factors that decrease PPi and promote mineralization (tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase, Alpl/TNAP), and those that increase local PPi and restrict mineralization (progressive ankylosis protein, ANK; ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase phosphodiesterase-1, NPP1). The cementum enveloping the tooth root is essential for tooth function by providing attachment to the surrounding bone via the nonmineralized periodontal ligament. At present, the developmental regulation of cementum remains poorly understood, hampering efforts for regeneration. To elucidate the role of PPi in cementum formation, we analyzed root development in knock-out (−/−) mice featuring PPi dysregulation.
Excess PPi in the Alpl−/− mouse inhibited cementum formation, causing root detachment consistent with premature tooth loss in the human condition hypophosphatasia, though cementoblast phenotype was unperturbed. Deficient PPi in both Ank and Enpp1−/− mice significantly increased cementum apposition and overall thickness more than 12-fold vs. controls, while dentin and cellular cementum were unaltered. Though PPi regulators are widely expressed, cementoblasts selectively expressed greater ANK and NPP1 along the root surface, and dramatically increased ANK or NPP1 in models of reduced PPi output, in compensatory fashion. In vitro mechanistic studies confirmed that under low PPi mineralizing conditions, cementoblasts increased Ank (5-fold) and Enpp1 (20-fold), while increasing PPi inhibited mineralization and associated increases in Ank and Enpp1 mRNA.
Results from these studies demonstrate a novel developmental regulation of acellular cementum, wherein cementoblasts tune cementogenesis by modulating local levels of PPi, directing and regulating mineral apposition. These findings underscore developmental differences in acellular versus cellular cementum, and suggest new approaches for cementum regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3366957  PMID: 22675556
5.  Design and synthesis of pyrazole derivatives as potent and selective inhibitors of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) 
Tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) plays a central role in regulating extracellular matrix calcification during bone formation and growth. High throughput screening (HTS) for small molecule TNAP inhibitors led to the identification of hits in the sub-micromolar potency range. We report the design, synthesis and in vitro evaluation of a series of pyrazole derivatives of a screening hit which are potent TNAP inhibitors exhibiting IC50 values as low as 5 nM. A representative of the series was characterized in kinetic studies and determined to have a mode of inhibition not previously observed for TNAP inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC2752324  PMID: 19038545
6.  Discovery and Validation of a Series of Aryl Sulfonamides as Selective Inhibitors of Tissue-Nonspecific Alkaline Phosphatase (TNAP) 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(21):6919-6925.
We report the characterization and optimization of drug-like small molecule inhibitors of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP), an enzyme critical for the regulation of extracellular matrix calcification during bone formation and growth. High-throughput screening (HTS) of a small molecule library led to the identification of arylsulfonamides as potent and selective inhibitors of TNAP. Critical structural requirements for activity were determined, and the compounds were subsequently profiled for in vitro activity and bioavailability parameters including metabolic stability and permeability. The plasma levels following subcutaneous administration of a member of the lead series in rat was determined, demonstrating the potential of these TNAP inhibitors as systemically active therapeutic agents to target various diseases involving soft tissue calcification. A representative member of the series was also characterized in mechanistic and kinetic studies.
PMCID: PMC2783186  PMID: 19821572
7.  Upregulation of alkaline phosphatase and pyrophosphate hydrolysis: Potential mechanism for uremic vascular calcification 
Kidney international  2008;73(9):1024-1030.
Pyrophosphate is a potent inhibitor of medial vascular calcification where its level is controlled by hydrolysis via a tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP). We sought to determine if increased TNAP activity could explain the pyrophosphate deficiency and vascular calcification seen in renal failure. TNAP activity increased twofold in intact aortas and in aortic homogenates from rats made uremic by feeding adenine or by 5/6 nephrectomy. Immunoblotting showed an increase in protein abundance but there was no increase in TNAP mRNA assessed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Hydrolysis of pyrophosphate by rat aortic rings was inhibited about half by the nonspecific alkaline phosphatase inhibitor levamisole and was reduced about half in aortas from mice lacking TNAP. Hydrolysis was increased in aortic rings from uremic rats and all of this increase was inhibited by levamisole. An increase in TNAP activity and pyrophosphate hydrolysis also occurred when aortic rings from normal rats were incubated with uremic rat plasma. These results suggest that a circulating factor causes pyrophosphate deficiency by regulating TNAP activity and that vascular calcification in renal failure may result from the action of this factor. If proven by future studies, this mechanism will identify alkaline phosphatase as a potential therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC3010853  PMID: 18288101
vascular calcification
8.  Counter-regulatory phosphatases TNAP and NPP1 temporally regulate tooth root cementogenesis 
Cementum is critical for anchoring the insertion of periodontal ligament fibers to the tooth root. Several aspects of cementogenesis remain unclear, including differences between acellular cementum and cellular cementum, and between cementum and bone. Biomineralization is regulated by the ratio of inorganic phosphate (Pi) to mineral inhibitor pyrophosphate (PPi), where local Pi and PPi concentrations are controlled by phosphatases including tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) and ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase 1 (NPP1). The focus of this study was to define the roles of these phosphatases in cementogenesis. TNAP was associated with earliest cementoblasts near forming acellular and cellular cementum. With loss of TNAP in the Alpl null mouse, acellular cementum was inhibited, while cellular cementum production increased, albeit as hypomineralized cementoid. In contrast, NPP1 was detected in cementoblasts after acellular cementum formation, and at low levels around cellular cementum. Loss of NPP1 in the Enpp1 null mouse increased acellular cementum, with little effect on cellular cementum. Developmental patterns were recapitulated in a mouse model for acellular cementum regeneration, with early TNAP expression and later NPP1 expression. In vitro, cementoblasts expressed Alpl gene/protein early, whereas Enpp1 gene/protein expression was significantly induced only under mineralization conditions. These patterns were confirmed in human teeth, including widespread TNAP, and NPP1 restricted to cementoblasts lining acellular cementum. These studies suggest that early TNAP expression creates a low PPi environment promoting acellular cementum initiation, while later NPP1 expression increases PPi, restricting acellular cementum apposition. Alterations in PPi have little effect on cellular cementum formation, though matrix mineralization is affected.
PMCID: PMC4817535  PMID: 25504209
cementum; bone; ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase phosphodiesterase 1; periodontal ligament; progressive ankylosis protein; tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase
9.  Pathophysiological role of vascular smooth muscle alkaline phosphatase in medial artery calcification† 
Medial vascular calcification (MVC) is a pathological phenomenon common to a variety of conditions, including aging, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, obesity, and a variety of rare genetic diseases, that causes vascular stiffening and can lead to heart failure. These conditions share the common feature of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) upregulation in the vasculature. To evaluate the role of TNAP in MVC, we developed a mouse model that overexpresses human TNAP in vascular smooth muscle cells in an X-linked manner. Hemizygous overexpressor male mice (Tagln-Cre+/-; HprtALPL/Y, or TNAP-OE) show extensive vascular calcification, high blood pressure, cardiac hypertrophy and have a median age of death of 44 days, whereas the cardiovascular phenotype is much less pronounced and life expectancy is longer in heterozygous (Tagln-Cre+/-; HprtALPL/-) female TNAP-OE mice. Gene expression analysis showed upregulation of osteoblast and chondrocyte markers and decreased expression of vascular smooth muscle markers in the aortas of TNAP-OE mice. Through medicinal chemistry efforts, we developed inhibitors of TNAP with drug-like pharmacokinetic characteristics. TNAP-OE mice were treated with the prototypical TNAP inhibitor SBI-425 or vehicle to evaluate the feasibility of TNAP inhibition in vivo. Treatment with this inhibitor significantly reduced aortic calcification and cardiac hypertrophy, and extended lifespan over vehicle-treated controls, in the absence of secondary effects on the skeleton. This study shows that TNAP in the vasculature contributes to the pathology of MVC and that it is a druggable target. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
PMCID: PMC4406354  PMID: 25428889
genetic animal models; preclinical studies; matrix mineralization; therapeutics
10.  Polyphosphates inhibit extracellular matrix mineralization in MC3T3-E1 osteoblast cultures 
Bone  2013;53(2):478-486.
Studies on various compounds of inorganic phosphate, as well as on organic phosphate added by post-translational phosphorylation of proteins, all demonstrate a central role for phosphate in biomineralization processes. Inorganic polyphosphates are chains of orthophosphates linked by phosphoanhydride bonds that can be up to hundreds of orthophosphates in length. The role of polyphosphates in mammalian systems, where they are ubiquitous in cells, tissues and bodily fluids, and are at particularly high levels in osteoblasts, is not well understood. In cell-free systems, polyphosphates inhibit hydroxyapatite nucleation, crystal formation and growth, and solubility. In animal studies, polyphosphate injections inhibit induced ectopic calcification. While recent work has proposed an integrated view of polyphosphate function in bone, little experimental data for bone are available. Here we show in osteoblast cultures producing an abundant collagenous matrix that normally shows robust mineralization, that two polyphosphates (PolyP5 and PolyP65, polyphosphates of 5 and 65 phosphate residues in length) are potent mineralization inhibitors. Twelve-day MC3T3-E1 osteoblast cultures with added ascorbic acid (for collagen matrix assembly) and β-glycerophosphate (a source of phosphate for mineralization) were treated with either PolyP5 or PolyP65. Von Kossa staining and calcium quantification revealed that mineralization was inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by both polyphosphates, with complete mineralization inhibition at 10 μM PolyP. Cell proliferation and collagen assembly were unaffected by polyphosphate treatment, indicating that polyphosphate inhibition of mineralization results not from cell and matrix effects but from direct inhibition of mineralization. This was confirmed by showing that PolyP5 and PolyP65 bound to synthetic hydroxyapatite in a concentration-dependent manner. Tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP, ALPL) efficiently hydrolyzed the two PolyPs as measured by Pi release. Importantly, at the concentrations of polyphosphates used in this study which inhibited bone cell culture mineralization, the polyphosphates competitively saturated TNAP, thus potentially interfering with its ability to hydrolyze mineralization-inhibiting pyrophosphate (PPi) and mineralizing-promoting β-glycerophosphate (in cell culture). In the biological setting, TNAP may regulate mineralization by shielding the essential inhibitory substrate pyrophosphate from TNAP degradation, and in the same process, delay the release of phosphate from this source. In conclusion, the inhibition of mineralization by polyphosphates is shown to occur via direct binding to apatitic mineral and by mixed inhibition of TNAP.
PMCID: PMC3712787  PMID: 23337041
polyphosphates; phosphate; bone; biomineralization; extracellular matrix; osteoblasts
11.  The Role of Phosphatases in the Initiation of Skeletal Mineralization 
Calcified tissue international  2012;93(4):299-306.
Endochondral ossification is a carefully orchestrated process mediated by promoters and inhibitors of mineralization. Phosphatases are implicated, but their identities and functions remain unclear. Mutations in the tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) gene cause hypophosphatasia, a heritable form of rickets and osteomalacia, caused by an arrest in the propagation of hydroxyapatite (HA) crystals onto the collagenous extracellular matrix due to accumulation of extracellular inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi), a physiological TNAP substrate and a potent calcification inhibitor. However, TNAP knockout (Alpl−/−) mice are born with a mineralized skeleton and have HA crystals in their chondrocyte- and osteoblast-derived matrix vesicles (MVs). We have shown that PHOSPHO1, a soluble phosphatase with specificity for two molecules present in MVs, phosphoethanolamine and phosphocholine, is responsible for initiating HA crystal formation inside MVs and that PHOSPHO1 and TNAP have nonredundant functional roles during endochondral ossification. Double ablation of PHOSPHO1 and TNAP function leads to the complete absence of skeletal mineralization and perinatal lethality, despite normal systemic phosphate and calcium levels. This strongly suggests that the Pi needed for initiation of MV-mediated mineralization is produced locally in the perivesicular space. As both TNAP and nucleoside pyrophosphohydrolase-1 (NPP1) behave as potent ATPases and pyrophosphatases in the MV compartment, our current model of the mechanisms of skeletal mineralization implicate intravesicular PHOS-PHO1 function and Pi influx into MVs in the initiation of mineralization and the functions of TNAP and NPP1 in the extravesicular progression of mineralization.
PMCID: PMC3594124  PMID: 23183786
Biomineralization; Bone and cartilage development; Metabolic bone disease; Animal model
12.  Hypophosphatasia - pathophysiology and treatment 
Actualizaciones en osteologia  2012;8(3):164-182.
English Summary
Hypophosphatasia (HPP) is the inborn-error-of-metabolism caused by loss-of-function mutation(s) in the gene that encodes the tissue-nonspecific isozyme of alkaline phosphatase (TNAP). The disease has been classified according to patient age when the first signs and symptoms manifest; i.e., perinatal, infantile, childhood, adult HPP. Other types include odonto HPP and perinatal benign. Babies with the perinatal/infantile forms of HPP often die with severe rickets and respiratory insufficiency and sometimes hypercalcemia and vitamin B6-responsive seizures. The primary biochemical defect in HPP is a deficiency of TNAP activity that leads to elevated circulating levels of substrates, in particular inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi), a potent calcification inhibitor. To-date, the management of HPP has been essentially symptomatic or orthopedic. However, enzyme replacement therapy with mineral-targeting TNAP (sALP-FcD10, also known as ENB-0040 or asfotase alfa) has shown promising results in a mouse model of HPP (Alpl−/− mice). Administration of mineral-targeting TNAP from birth increased survival and prevented the seizures, rickets, as well as all the tooth abnormalities, including dentin, acellular cementum, and enamel defects in this model of severe HPP. Clinical trials using mineral-targeting TNAP in children 3 years of age or younger with life-threatening HPP was associated with healing of the skeletal manifestations of HPP as well as improved respiratory and motor function. Improvement is still being observed in the patients receiving continued asfotase alfa therapy, with more than 3 years of treatment in some children. Enzyme replacement therapy with asfotase alfa has to-date been successful in patients with life-threatening HPP.
PMCID: PMC4171060  PMID: 25254037
13.  Effects of pH on the Production of Phosphate and Pyrophosphate by Matrix Vesicles' Biomimetics 
Calcified tissue international  2013;93(3):222-232.
During endochondral bone formation, chondrocytes and osteoblasts synthesize and mineralize the extracellular matrix through a process that initiates within matrix vesicles (MVs) and ends with bone mineral propagation onto the collagenous scaffold. pH gradients have been identified in the growth plate of long bones, but how pH changes affect the initiation of skeletal mineralization is not known. Tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) degrades extracellular inorganic pyrophosphate (ePPi), a mineralization inhibitor produced by ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase/ phosphodiesterase-1 (NPP1), while contributing Pi from ATP to initiate mineralization. TNAP and NPP1, alone or combined, were reconstituted in dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC) liposomes to mimic the microenvironment of MVs. The hydrolysis of ATP, ADP, AMP and PPi was studied at pH 8 and 9 and compared to the data determined at pH 7.4. While catalytic efficiencies in general were higher at alkaline pH, PPi hydrolysis was maximal at pH 8 and indicated a preferential utilization of PPi over ATP, at pH 8 versus 9. In addition, all proteoliposomes induced mineral formation when incubated in a synthetic cartilage lymph (SCL) containing 1 mM ATP as substrate and amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) or calciumphosphate- phosphatidylserine complexes (PS-CPLX) as nucleators. Propagation of mineralization was significantly more efficient at pHs 7.5 and 8 than at pH 9. Since a slight pH elevation from 7.4 to 8 promotes considerably more hydrolysis of ATP, ADP and AMP primarily by TNAP, this small pH change facilitates mineralization, especially via upregulated PPi hydrolysis by both NPP1 and TNAP, further elevating the Pi/PPi ratio, thus enhancing bone mineralization.
PMCID: PMC3752608  PMID: 23942722
biomineralization; alkaline pH; microenvironment; proteoliposomes; pyrophosphate; ATP
14.  Characterization of Different Subpopulations from Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells by Alkaline Phosphatase Expression 
Stem Cells and Development  2012;21(16):2958-2968.
Multiple surface markers have been utilized for the enrichment of bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and to define primitive stem cells. We classified human bone marrow-derived MSC populations according to tissue nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) activity. TNAP expression varied among unexpanded primary MSCs, and its level was not related to colony-forming activity or putative surface markers, such as CD105 and CD29, donor age, or gender. TNAP levels were increased in larger cells, and a colony-forming unit-fibroblast assay revealed that the colony size was decreased during in vitro expansion. TNAP-positive (TNAP+) MSCs showed limited multipotential capacity, whereas TNAP-negative (TNAP−) MSCs retained the differentiation potential into 3 lineages (osteogenic-, adipogenic-, and chondrogenic differentiation). High degree of calcium mineralization and high level of osteogenic-related gene expression (osteopontin, dlx5, and cbfa1) were found in TNAP+ cells. In contrast, during chondrogenic differentiation, type II collagen was successfully induced in TNAP− cells, but not in TNAP+ cells. TNAP+ cells showed high levels of the hypertrophic markers, type X collagen and cbfa1. Mesenchymal stem cell antigen-1 (MSCA-1) is identical to TNAP. Therefore, TNAP+ cells were sorted by using antibody targeting MSCA-1. MSCA-1-positive cells sorted for TNAP+ cells exhibited low proliferation rates. Expression of cell cycle-related genes (cyclin A2, CDK2, and CDK4) and pluripotency marker genes (rex1 and nanog) were higher in TNAP− MSC than in TNAP+ MSC. Therefore, TNAP− cells can be described as more primitive bone marrow-derived cells and TNAP levels in MSCs can be used to predict chondrocyte hypertrophy or osteogenic capacity.
PMCID: PMC3475148  PMID: 22702738
15.  Loss of Skeletal Mineralization by the Simultaneous Ablation of PHOSPHO1 and Alkaline Phosphatase Function: A Unified Model of the Mechanisms of Initiation of Skeletal Calcification 
Endochondral ossification is a carefully orchestrated process mediated by promoters and inhibitors of mineralization. Phosphatases are implicated, but their identities and functions remain unclear. Alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) plays a crucial role promoting mineralization of the extracellular matrix by restricting the concentration of the calcification inhibitor inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi). Mutations in the TNAP gene cause hypophosphatasia, a heritable form of rickets and osteomalacia. Here we show that PHOSPHO1, a phosphatase with specificity for phosphoethanolamine and phosphocholine, plays a functional role in the initiation of calcification and that ablation of PHOSPHO1 and TNAP function prevents skeletal mineralization. Phospho1−/− mice display growth plate abnormalities, spontaneous fractures, bowed long bones, osteomalacia, and scoliosis in early life. Primary cultures of Phospho1−/− tibial growth plate chondrocytes and chondrocyte-derived matrix vesicles (MVs) show reduced mineralizing ability, and plasma samples from Phospho1−/− mice show reduced levels of TNAP and elevated plasma PPi concentrations. However, transgenic overexpression of TNAP does not correct the bone phenotype in Phospho1−/− mice despite normalization of their plasma PPi levels. In contrast, double ablation of PHOSPHO1 and TNAP function leads to the complete absence of skeletal mineralization and perinatal lethality. We conclude that PHOSPHO1 has a nonredundant functional role during endochondral ossification, and based on these data and a review of the current literature, we propose an inclusive model of skeletal calcification that involves intravesicular PHOSPHO1 function and Pi influx into MVs in the initiation of mineralization and the functions of TNAP, nucleotide pyrophosphatase phosphodiesterase-1, and collagen in the extravesicular progression of mineralization. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
PMCID: PMC3179344  PMID: 20684022
16.  Pharmacological inhibition of PHOSPHO1 suppresses vascular smooth muscle cell calcification 
Medial vascular calcification (MVC) is common in patients with chronic kidney disease, obesity, and aging. MVC is an actively regulated process that resembles skeletal mineralization, resulting from chondro-osteogenic transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Here, we used mineralizing murine VSMCs to study the expression of PHOSPHO1, a phosphatase that participates in the first step of matrix vesicles-mediated initiation of mineralization during endochondral ossification. Wild-type (WT) VSMCs cultured under calcifying conditions exhibited increased Phospho1 gene expression and Phospho1-/- VSMCs failed to mineralize in vitro. Using natural PHOSPHO1 substrates, potent and specific inhibitors of PHOSPHO1 were identified via high-throughput screening and mechanistic analysis and two, designated MLS-0390838 and MLS-0263839, were selected for further analysis. Their effectiveness in preventing VSMC calcification by targeting PHOSPHO1 function was assessed, alone and in combination with a potent tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) inhibitor MLS-0038949. PHOSPHO1 inhibition by MLS-0263839 in mineralizing WT cells (cultured with added inorganic phosphate) reduced calcification in culture to 41.8% ± 2.0 of control. Combined inhibition of PHOSPHO1 by MLS-0263839 and TNAP by MLS-0038949 significantly reduced calcification to 20.9% ± 0.74 of control. Furthermore, the dual inhibition strategy affected the expression of several mineralization-related enzymes while increasing expression of the smooth muscle cell marker Acta2. We conclude that PHOSPHO1 plays a critical role in VSMC mineralization and that “phosphatase inhibition” may be a useful therapeutic strategy to reduce MVC.
PMCID: PMC3562655  PMID: 22887744
High-throughput screening; small-molecules; pharmacological inhibitors; alkaline phosphatase; kinetic studies
17.  Proteoliposomes Harboring Alkaline Phosphatase and Nucleotide Pyrophosphatase as Matrix Vesicle Biomimetics* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2010;285(10):7598-7609.
We have established a proteoliposome system as an osteoblast-derived matrix vesicle (MV) biomimetic to facilitate the study of the interplay of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) and NPP1 (nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase-1) during catalysis of biomineralization substrates. First, we studied the incorporation of TNAP into liposomes of various lipid compositions (i.e. in pure dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC), DPPC/dipalmitoyl phosphatidylserine (9:1 and 8:2), and DPPC/dioctadecyl-dimethylammonium bromide (9:1 and 8:2) mixtures. TNAP reconstitution proved virtually complete in DPPC liposomes. Next, proteoliposomes containing either recombinant TNAP, recombinant NPP1, or both together were reconstituted in DPPC, and the hydrolysis of ATP, ADP, AMP, pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (PLP), p-nitrophenyl phosphate, p-nitrophenylthymidine 5′-monophosphate, and PPi by these proteoliposomes was studied at physiological pH. p-Nitrophenylthymidine 5′-monophosphate and PLP were exclusively hydrolyzed by NPP1-containing and TNAP-containing proteoliposomes, respectively. In contrast, ATP, ADP, AMP, PLP, p-nitrophenyl phosphate, and PPi were hydrolyzed by TNAP-, NPP1-, and TNAP plus NPP1-containing proteoliposomes. NPP1 plus TNAP additively hydrolyzed ATP, but TNAP appeared more active in AMP formation than NPP1. Hydrolysis of PPi by TNAP-, and TNAP plus NPP1-containing proteoliposomes occurred with catalytic efficiencies and mild cooperativity, effects comparable with those manifested by murine osteoblast-derived MVs. The reconstitution of TNAP and NPP1 into proteoliposome membranes generates a phospholipid microenvironment that allows the kinetic study of phosphosubstrate catabolism in a manner that recapitulates the native MV microenvironment.
PMCID: PMC2844207  PMID: 20048161
Calcium/ATPase; Cell/Compartmentation; Enzymes/ATPases; Membrane/Enzymes; Membrane/Reconstitution; Methods/Liposomes; Subcellular Organelles/Vesicles
18.  Correction of hypophosphatasia (HPP) associated mineralization deficiencies in vitro by phosphate/pyrophosphate modulation in periodontal ligament cells 
Journal of periodontology  2011;83(5):10.1902/jop.2011.110310.
Mutations in the Alpl gene in hypophosphatasia (HPP) reduce the function of tissue nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP), resulting in increased pyrophosphate (PPi) and a severe deficiency in acellular cementum. We hypothesized that exogenous phosphate (Pi) would rescue the in vitro mineralization capacity of periodontal ligament (PDL) cells harvested from HPP-diagnosed subjects, by correcting Pi/PPi ratio and modulating expression of genes involved with Pi/PPi metabolism.
Ex vivo and in vitro analyses were employed to identify mechanisms involved in HPP-associated PDL/tooth root deficiencies. Constitutive expression of PPi-associated genes was contrasted in PDL versus pulp tissues obtained from healthy subjects. Primary PDL cell cultures from HPP subjects (monozygotic twin males) were established to assay alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP), in vitro mineralization, and gene expression. Exogenous Pi was provided to correct Pi/PPi ratio.
PDL tissues obtained from healthy individuals featured higher basal expression of key PPi regulators, genes Alpl, progressive ankylosis protein (Ankh) and ectonucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase 1 (Enpp1), versus paired pulp tissues. A novel Alpl mutation was identified in the twin HPP subjects enrolled in this study. Compared to controls, HPP-PDL cells exhibited significantly reduced ALP and mineralizing capacity, which were rescued by addition of 1mM Pi. Dysregulated expression of PPi regulatory genes Alpl, Ankh, and Enpp1 was also corrected by adding Pi, though other matrix markers evaluated in our study remained down-regulated.
These findings underscore the importance of controlling Pi/PPi ratio toward development of a functional periodontal apparatus, and support Pi/PPi imbalance as the etiology of HPP-associated cementum defects.
PMCID: PMC3871996  PMID: 22014174
hypophosphatasia; cementum; periodontal ligament; phosphate; pyrophosphate
19.  In Vivo Overexpression of Tissue-Nonspecific Alkaline Phosphatase Increases Skeletal Mineralization and Affects the Phosphorylation Status of Osteopontin 
Functional ablation of tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) (Alpl−/− mice) leads to hypophosphatasia, characterized by rickets/osteomalacia attributable to elevated levels of extracellular inorganic pyrophosphate, a potent mineralization inhibitor. Osteopontin (OPN) is also elevated in the plasma and skeleton of Alpl−/− mice. Phosphorylated OPN is known to inhibit mineralization, however, the phosphorylation status of the increased OPN found in Alpl−/− mice is unknown. Here, we generated a transgenic mouse line expressing human TNAP under control of an osteoblast-specific Col1a1 promoter (Col1a1-Tnap). The transgene is expressed in osteoblasts, periosteum, and cortical bones, and plasma levels of TNAP in mice expressing Col1a1-Tnap are 10-20 times higher than those of wild-type mice. The Col1a1-Tnap animals are healthy and exhibit increased bone mineralization by microCT analysis. Crossbreeding of Col1a1-Tnap transgenic mice to Alpl−/− mice rescues the lethal hypophosphatasia phenotype characteristic of this disease model. Osteoblasts from [Col1a1-Tnap] mice mineralize better than non-transgenic controls and osteoblasts from [Col1a1-Tnap+/−; Alpl−/−] mice are able to mineralize to the level of Alpl+/− heterozygous osteoblasts, while Alpl−/− osteoblasts show no mineralization. We found that the increased levels of OPN in bone tissue of Alpl−/− mice are comprised of phosphorylated forms of OPN while WT and [Col1a1-Tnap+/−; Alpl−/−] mice had both phosphorylated and dephosphorylated forms of OPN. OPN from [Col1a1-Tnap] osteoblasts were more phosphorylated than non-transgenic control cells. Titanium dioxide-liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry analysis revealed that OPN peptides derived from Alpl−/− bone and osteoblasts yielded a higher proportion of phosphorylated peptides than samples from WT mice, and at least two phosphopeptides, p(S174FQVS178DEQY182PDAT186DEDLT191)SHMK and FRIp(S299HELES304S305S306S307)EVN, with one non-localized site each, appear to be preferred sites of TNAP action on OPN. Our data suggest that the pro-mineralization role of TNAP may be related not only to its accepted pyrophosphatase activity but also to its ability to modify the phosphorylation status of OPN.
PMCID: PMC3688694  PMID: 23427088
hypophosphatasia; phosphorylation; phosphopeptides; mineralization; bone mass; transgenic mice; knockout mice
20.  Tooth root dentin mineralization defects in a mouse model of hypophosphatasia 
Tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) is expressed in mineralizing tissues and functions to reduce pyrophosphate (PPi), a potent inhibitor of mineralization. Loss of TNAP function causes hypophosphatasia (HPP), a heritable disorder marked by increased PPi, resulting in rickets and osteomalacia. Tooth root cementum defects are well described in both HPP patients and in Alpl−/− mice, a model for infantile HPP. In Alpl−/− mice, dentin mineralization is specifically delayed in the root, however, reports from human HPP patients are variable and inconsistent regarding dentin defects. In the present study, we aimed to define the molecular basis for changes in dentinogenesis observed in Alpl−/− mice. TNAP was found to be highly expressed by mature odontoblasts, and Alpl−/− molar and incisor roots featured defective dentin mineralization, ranging from a mild delay to severely disturbed root dentinogenesis. Lack of mantle dentin mineralization was associated with disordered and dysmorphic odontoblasts having disrupted expression of marker genes osteocalcin and dentin sialophosphoprotein. The formation of, initiation of mineralization within, and rupture of matrix vesicles in Alpl−/− dentin matrix was not affected. Osteopontin (OPN), an inhibitor of mineralization that contributes to the skeletal pathology in Alpl−/− mice, was present in the generally unmineralized Alpl−/− mantle dentin at ruptured mineralizing matrix vesicles, as detected by immunohistochemistry and by immunogold labeling. However, ablating the OPN-encoding Spp1 gene in Alpl−/− mice was insufficient to rescue the dentin mineralization defect. Administration of bioengineered mineral-targeting human TNAP (ENB-0040) to Alpl−/− mice corrected defective dentin mineralization in the molar roots. These studies reveal that TNAP participates in root dentin formation and confirm that reduction of PPi during dentinogenesis is necessary for odontoblast differentiation, dentin matrix secretion, and mineralization. Furthermore, these results elucidate developmental mechanisms underlying dentin pathology in HPP patients, and begin to explain the reported variability in the dentin/pulp complex pathology in these patients.
PMCID: PMC3541444  PMID: 22991301
Tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase; TNAP; dentin; pyrophosphate; osteopontin; matrix vesicles
21.  Functional Significance of Calcium Binding to Tissue-Nonspecific Alkaline Phosphatase 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(3):e0119874.
The conserved active site of alkaline phosphatases (AP) contains catalytically important Zn2+ (M1 and M2) and Mg2+-sites (M3) and a fourth peripheral Ca2+ site (M4) of unknown significance. We have studied Ca2+ binding to M1-4 of tissue-nonspecific AP (TNAP), an enzyme crucial for skeletal mineralization, using recombinant TNAP and a series of M4 mutants. Ca2+ could substitute for Mg2+ at M3, with maximal activity for Ca2+/Zn2+-TNAP around 40% that of Mg2+/Zn2+-TNAP at pH 9.8 and 7.4. At pH 7.4, allosteric TNAP-activation at M3 by Ca2+ occurred faster than by Mg2+. Several TNAP M4 mutations eradicated TNAP activity, while others mildly influenced the affinity of Ca2+ and Mg2+ for M3 similarly, excluding a catalytic role for Ca2+ in the TNAP M4 site. At pH 9.8, Ca2+ competed with soluble Zn2+ for binding to M1 and M2 up to 1 mM and at higher concentrations, it even displaced M1- and M2-bound Zn2+, forming Ca2+/Ca2+-TNAP with a catalytic activity only 4–6% that of Mg2+/Zn2+-TNAP. At pH 7.4, competition with Zn2+ and its displacement from M1 and M2 required >10-fold higher Ca2+ concentrations, to generate weakly active Ca2+/Ca2+-TNAP. Thus, in a Ca2+-rich environment, such as during skeletal mineralization at pH 7.4, Ca2+ adequately activates Zn2+-TNAP at M3, but very high Ca2+ concentrations compete with available Zn2+ for binding to M1 and M2 and ultimately displace Zn2+ from the active site, virtually inactivating TNAP. Those ALPL mutations that substitute critical TNAP amino acids involved in coordinating Ca2+ to M4 cause hypophosphatasia because of their 3D-structural impact, but M4-bound Ca2+ is catalytically inactive. In conclusion, during skeletal mineralization, the building Ca2+ gradient first activates TNAP, but gradually inactivates it at high Ca2+ concentrations, toward completion of mineralization.
PMCID: PMC4361680  PMID: 25775211
22.  The Cellular Prion Protein Interacts with the Tissue Non-Specific Alkaline Phosphatase in Membrane Microdomains of Bioaminergic Neuronal Cells 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(8):e6497.
The cellular prion protein, PrPC, is GPI anchored and abundant in lipid rafts. The absolute requirement of PrPC in neurodegeneration associated to prion diseases is well established. However, the function of this ubiquitous protein is still puzzling. Our previous work using the 1C11 neuronal model, provided evidence that PrPC acts as a cell surface receptor. Besides a ubiquitous signaling function of PrPC, we have described a neuronal specificity pointing to a role of PrPC in neuronal homeostasis. 1C11 cells, upon appropriate induction, engage into neuronal differentiation programs, giving rise either to serotonergic (1C115-HT) or noradrenergic (1C11NE) derivatives.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The neuronal specificity of PrPC signaling prompted us to search for PrPC partners in 1C11-derived bioaminergic neuronal cells. We show here by immunoprecipitation an association of PrPC with an 80 kDa protein identified by mass spectrometry as the tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP). This interaction occurs in lipid rafts and is restricted to 1C11-derived neuronal progenies. Our data indicate that TNAP is implemented during the differentiation programs of 1C115-HT and 1C11NE cells and is active at their cell surface. Noteworthy, TNAP may contribute to the regulation of serotonin or catecholamine synthesis in 1C115-HT and 1C11NE bioaminergic cells by controlling pyridoxal phosphate levels. Finally, TNAP activity is shown to modulate the phosphorylation status of laminin and thereby its interaction with PrP.
The identification of a novel PrPC partner in lipid rafts of neuronal cells favors the idea of a role of PrP in multiple functions. Because PrPC and laminin functionally interact to support neuronal differentiation and memory consolidation, our findings introduce TNAP as a functional protagonist in the PrPC-laminin interplay. The partnership between TNAP and PrPC in neuronal cells may provide new clues as to the neurospecificity of PrPC function.
PMCID: PMC2715859  PMID: 19652718
23.  Tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase production by human dental pulp stromal cells is enhanced by high density cell culture 
Cell and Tissue Research  2015;361(2):529-540.
The cell surface hydrolase tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) (also known as MSCA-1) is used to identify a sub-population of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) with high mineralising potential and is found on subsets of cells within the dental pulp. We aim to determine whether TNAP is co-expressed by human dental pulp stromal cells (hDPSCs) alongside a range of BMSC markers, whether this is an active form of the enzyme and the effects of culture duration and cell density on its expression. Cells from primary dental pulp and culture expanded hDPSCs expressed TNAP. Subsequent analyses revealed persistent TNAP expression and co-expression with BMSC markers such as CD73 and CD90. Flow cytometry and biochemical assays showed that increased culture durations and cell densities enhanced TNAP expression by hDPSCs. Arresting the hDPSC cell cycle also increased TNAP expression. These data confirm that TNAP is co-expressed by hDPSCs together with other BMSC markers and show that cell density affects TNAP expression levels. We conclude that TNAP is a potentially useful marker for hDPSC selection especially for uses in mineralised tissue regenerative therapies.
PMCID: PMC4529449  PMID: 25636587
Tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase; Dental pulp; DPSC; Cell density; Flow cytometry
24.  Tissue-Nonspecific Alkaline Phosphatase Acts Redundantly with PAP and NT5E to Generate Adenosine in the Dorsal Spinal Cord 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2013;33(27):11314-11322.
Prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) and ecto-5′-nucleotidase (NT5E) hydrolyze extracellular AMP to adenosine in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons and in the dorsal spinal cord. Previously, we found that adenosine production was reduced, but not eliminated, in Pap−/−/Nt5e−/− double knock-out (dKO) mice, suggesting that a third AMP ectonucleotidase was present in these tissues. Here, we found that tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP, encoded by the Alpl gene) is expressed and functional in DRG neurons and spinal neurons. Using a cell-based assay, we found that TNAP rapidly hydrolyzed extracellular AMP and activated adenosine receptors. This activity was eliminated by MLS-0038949, a selective pharmacological inhibitor of TNAP. In addition, MLS-0038949 eliminated AMP hydrolysis in DRG and spinal lamina II of dKO mice. Using fast-scan-cyclic voltammetry, we found that adenosine was rapidly produced from AMP in spinal cord slices from dKO mice, but virtually no adenosine was produced in spinal cord slices from dKO mice treated with MLS-0038949. Last, we found that AMP inhibited excitatory neurotransmission via adenosine A1 receptor activation in spinal cord slices from wild-type, Pap−/−, Nt5e−/−, and dKO mice, but failed to inhibit neurotransmission in slices from dKO mice treated with MLS-0038949. These data suggest that triple elimination of TNAP, PAP, and NT5E is required to block AMP hydrolysis to adenosine in DRG neurons and dorsal spinal cord. Moreover, our data reveal that TNAP, PAP, and NT5E are the main AMP ectonucleotidases in primary somatosensory neurons and regulate physiology by metabolizing extracellular purine nucleotides.
PMCID: PMC3718384  PMID: 23825434
25.  A Novel Strategy for Enrichment and Isolation of Osteoprogenitor Cells from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Based on Surface Marker Combination 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99534.
In this study, we developed a new method to stimulate osteogenic differentiation in tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP)-positive cells liberated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs)-derived embryoid bodies (EBs) with 14 days long TGF-β/IGF-1/FGF-2 treatment. TNAP is a marker protein of osteolineage cells. We analyzed and isolated TNAP-positive and E-cadherin-negative nonepithelial cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Treating the cells with a combination of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, and fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 for 14 days greatly enhanced TNAP expression and maximized expression frequency up to 77.3%. The isolated cells expressed high levels of osterix, which is an exclusive osteogenic marker. Culturing these TNAP-positive cells in osteoblast differentiation medium (OBM) led to the expression of runt-related transcription factor 2, type I collagen, bone sialoprotein, and osteocalcin (OCN). These cells responded to treatment with activated vitamin D3 by upregulating OCN. Furthermore, in OBM they were capable of generating many mineralized nodules with strong expression of receptor activator of NF-kappaB ligand and sclerostin (SOST). Real-time RT-PCR showed a significant increase in the expression of osteocyte marker genes, including SOST, neuropeptide Y, and reelin. Scanning electron microscopy showed dendritic morphology. Examination of semi-thin toluidine blue-stained sections showed many interconnected dendrites. Thus, TNAP-positive cells cultured in OBM may eventually become terminally differentiated osteocyte-like cells. In conclusion, treating hiPSCs-derived cells with a combination of TGF-β, IGF-1, and FGF-2 generated TNAP-positive cells at high frequency. These TNAP-positive cells had a high osteogenic potential and could terminally differentiate into osteocyte-like cells. The method described here may reveal new pathways of osteogenesis and provide a novel tool for regenerative medicine and drug development.
PMCID: PMC4050034  PMID: 24911063

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