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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.  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
3.  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
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.  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
9.  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
10.  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
11.  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
12.  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
13.  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
14.  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
15.  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
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.  Inhibition of PHOSPHO1 activity results in impaired skeletal mineralization during limb development of the chick 
Bone  2010;46(4):1146-1155.
PHOSPHO1 is a bone specific phosphatase implicated in the initiation of inorganic phosphate generation for matrix mineralization. The control of mineralization is attributed to the actions of tissue-non specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP). However, matrix vesicles (MVs) containing apatite crystals are present in patients with hypophosphatasia as well as TNAP null (Akp2-/-) mice. It is therefore likely that other phosphatases work with TNAP to regulate matrix mineralization. Although PHOSPHO1 and TNAP expression is associated with MVs, it is not known if PHOSPHO1 and TNAP are co-expressed during the early stages of limb development. Furthermore the functional in-vivo role of PHOSPHO1 in matrix mineralization has yet to be established. Here, we studied the temporal expression and functional role of PHOSPHO1 within chick limb bud mesenchymal micromass cultures and also in wild-type and talpid3 chick mutants. These mutants are characterized by defective hedgehog signalling and the absence of endochondral mineralization. The ability of in-vitro micromass cultures to differentiate and mineralize their matrix was temporally associated with increased expression of PHOSPHO1 and TNAP. Comparable changes in expression were noted in developing embryonic legs (developmental stages 23–36HH). Micromass cultures treated with lansoprazole, a small-molecule inhibitor of PHOSPHO1 activity, or FGF2, an inhibitor of chondrocyte differentiation, resulted in reduced alizarin red staining (P<0.05). FGF2 treatment also caused a reduction in PHOSPHO1 (P<0.001) and TNAP (P<0.001) expression. Expression analysis by whole mount RNA in-situ hybridization, correlated with qPCR micromass data and demonstrated the existence of a tightly regulated pattern of Phospho1 and Tnap expression which precedes mineralization. Treatment of developing embryos for 5-days with lansoprazole completely inhibited mineralization of all leg and wing long bones as assessed by alcian blue/alizarin red staining. Furthermore, long bones of the talpid3 chick mutant did not express Phospho1 or Tnap whereas flat bones mineralized normally and expressed both phosphatases. In conclusion, this study has disclosed that PHOSPHO1 expression mirrors that of TNAP during embryonic bone development and that PHOSPHO1 contributes to bone mineralization in developing chick long bones.
PMCID: PMC2842458  PMID: 20053388
PHOSPHO1; Alkaline Phosphatase; chondrocyte differentiation; mineralization; talpid3
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.  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
20.  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
21.  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
22.  Tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase promotes axonal growth of hippocampal neurons 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(7):1014-1024.
A reduction in extracellular ATP levels by TNAP is essential for the development of neuritic processes by cultured hippocampal neurons. Results demonstrate that TNAP-mediated effects regulate both ligand availability and protein expression of P2X7 receptor in the axonal growth cone.
Axonal growth is essential for establishing neuronal circuits during brain development and for regenerative processes in the adult brain. Unfortunately, the extracellular signals controlling axonal growth are poorly understood. Here we report that a reduction in extracellular ATP levels by tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) is essential for the development of neuritic processes by cultured hippocampal neurons. Selective blockade of TNAP activity with levamisole or specific TNAP knockdown with short hairpin RNA interference inhibited the growth and branching of principal axons, whereas addition of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) promoted axonal growth. Neither activation nor inhibition of adenosine receptors affected the axonal growth, excluding the contribution of extracellular adenosine as a potential hydrolysis product of extracellular ATP to the TNAP-mediated effects. TNAP was colocalized at axonal growth cones with ionotropic ATP receptors (P2X7 receptor), whose activation inhibited axonal growth. Additional analyses suggested a close functional interrelation of TNAP and P2X7 receptors whereby TNAP prevents P2X7 receptor activation by hydrolyzing ATP in the immediate environment of the receptor. Furthermore inhibition of P2X7 receptor reduced TNAP expression, whereas addition of ALP enhanced P2X7 receptor expression. Our results demonstrate that TNAP, regulating both ligand availability and protein expression of P2X7 receptor, is essential for axonal development.
PMCID: PMC3069005  PMID: 21289095
23.  Compounded PHOSPHO1/ALPL Deficiencies Reduce Dentin Mineralization 
Journal of Dental Research  2013;92(8):721-727.
Phosphatases are involved in bone and tooth mineralization, but their mechanisms of action are not completely understood. Tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP, ALPL) regulates inhibitory extracellular pyrophosphate through its pyrophosphatase activity to control mineral propagation in the matrix; mice without TNAP lack acellular cementum, and have mineralization defects in dentin, enamel, and bone. PHOSPHO1 is a phosphatase found within membrane-bounded matrix vesicles in mineralized tissues, and double ablation of Alpl and Phospho1 in mice leads to a complete absence of skeletal mineralization. Here, we describe mineralization abnormalities in the teeth of Phospho1-/- mice, and in compound knockout mice lacking Phospho1 and one allele of Alpl (Phospho1-/-;Alpl+/-). In wild-type mice, PHOSPHO1 and TNAP co-localized to odontoblasts at early stages of dentinogenesis, coincident with the early mineralization of mantle dentin. In Phospho1 knockout mice, radiography, micro-computed tomography, histology, and transmission electron microscopy all demonstrated mineralization abnormalities of incisor dentin, with the most remarkable findings being reduced overall mineralization coincident with decreased matrix vesicle mineralization in the Phospho1-/- mice, and the almost complete absence of matrix vesicles in the Phospho1-/-;Alpl+/- mice, whose incisors showed a further reduction in mineralization. Results from this study support prominent non-redundant roles for both PHOSPHO1 and TNAP in dentin mineralization.
PMCID: PMC3711567  PMID: 23694930
matrix vesicles; tissue-non-specific alkaline phosphatase; extracellular matrix; extracellular matrix proteins; tooth; phosphatase
24.  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
25.  Enzyme replacement prevents enamel defects in hypophosphatasia mice 
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research  2012;27(8):1722-1734.
Hypophosphatasia (HPP) is the inborn error of metabolism characterized by deficiency of alkaline phosphatase activity leading to rickets or osteomalacia and to dental defects. HPP occurs from loss-of-function mutations within the gene that encodes the tissue-nonspecific isozyme of alkaline phosphatase (TNAP). TNAP knockout (Alpl−/−, a.k.a. Akp2−/−) mice closely phenocopy infantile HPP, including the rickets, vitamin B6-responsive seizures, improper dentin mineralization, and lack of acellular cementum. Here, we report that lack of TNAP in Alpl−/− mice also causes severe enamel defects, which are preventable by enzyme replacement with mineral-targeted TNAP (ENB-0040). Immunohistochemistry was used to map the spatiotemporal expression of TNAP in the tissues of the developing enamel organ of healthy mouse molars and incisors. We found strong, stage-specific expression of TNAP in ameloblasts. In the Alpl−/− mice, histological, μCT, and scanning electron microscopy analysis showed reduced mineralization and disrupted organization of the rods and inter-rod structures in enamel of both the molars and incisors. All of these abnormalities were prevented in mice receiving from birth daily subcutaneous injections of mineral-targeting, human TNAP (sALP-FcD10, a.k.a. ENB-0040) at 8.2 mg/kg/day for up to 44 days. These data reveal an important role for TNAP in enamel mineralization, and demonstrate the efficacy of mineral-targeted TNAP to prevent enamel defects in HPP.
PMCID: PMC3395779  PMID: 22461224

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