Yeon-Ju Lee, Hyeon Yeong Ju, Seung-Yoon Park, Hye Jung Ihn, Eui Kyun Park and Jung-Eun Kim*
Objective: The relative balance of osteoblasts in bone formation and osteoclasts in bone resorption is crucial for maintaining bone health. With age, this balance between osteoblasts and osteoclasts is broken, resulting in bone loss. Anabolic drugs are continuously being developed to counteract this low bone mass. Recombinant proteins are used as biotherapeutics due to being relatively easy to produce on a large scale and are cost-effective through various expression systems. This study aimed to develop a recombinant protein that would positively impact osteoblast differentiation and mineralized nodule formation using unique cartilage matrix-associated protein (UCMA).
Methods: A recombinant glutathione-S-transferase (GST)-UCMA fusion protein was generated in an E.coli system, and purified by affinity chromatography. MC3T3-E1 osteoblast cells and Osterix (Osx)-knockdown stable cells were cultured for 14 days to investigate osteoblast differentiation and nodule formation in the presence of the recombinant GST-UCMA protein. The differentiated cells were assessed by alizarin red S staining and quantitative PCR of the osteoblast differentiation marker osteocalcin. In addition, cell viability in the presence of the recombinant GST-UCMA protein was determined by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and cell adhesion assay.
Results: The isolation of both purified recombinant GST-only and GST-UCMA proteins were confirmed at 26 kDa and 34 kDa, respectively, by Coomassie staining and western blot analysis. Neither dose-dependent nor time-dependent presence of recombinant GSTUCMA affected MC3T3-E1 cell viability. However, MC3T3-E1 cell adhesion to the recombinant GST-UCMA protein increased dose-dependently. Osteoblast differentiation and nodule formation were promoted in both MC3T3-E1 osteoblast cells and Osxknockdown stable cells when cultured in the presence of recombinant GST-UCMA protein.
Conclusion: A recombinant GST-UCMA protein induces osteogenic differentiation and mineralization, suggesting its potential use as an anabolic drug to increase low bone mass in osteoporotic patients.
UCMA protein, GST-fusion, recombinant, osteoblast, differentiation, mineralization
Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41944, Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41944, Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Dongguk University, Gyeongju 38066, Cell and Matrix Research Institute, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41944, Department of Oral Pathology and Regenerative Medicine, School of Dentistry, IHBR, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41940, Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41944