2022 Volume 55 Issue 3 Pages 99-110
Epithelial protein lost in neoplasm (EPLIN) is an actin-associated cytoskeletal protein that plays an important role in epithelial cell adhesion. EPLIN has two isoforms: EPLINα and EPLINβ. In this study, we investigated the role of EPLINβ in osteoblasts using EPLINβ-deficient (EPLINβGT/GT) mice. The skeletal phenotype of EPLINβGT/GT mice is indistinguishable from the wildtype (WT), but bone properties and strength were significantly decreased compared with WT littermates. Histomorphological analysis revealed altered organization of bone spicules and osteoblast cell arrangement, and decreased alkaline phosphatase activity in EPLINβGT/GT mouse bones. Transmission electron microscopy revealed wider intercellular spaces between osteoblasts in EPLINβGT/GT mice, suggesting aberrant cell adhesion. In EPLINβGT/GT osteoblasts, α- and β-catenins and F-actin were observed at the cell membrane, but OB-cadherin was localized at the perinuclear region, indicating that cadherin-catenin complexes were not formed. EPLINβ knockdown in MC3T3-e1 osteoblast cells showed similar results as in calvaria cell cultures. Bone formation markers, such as RUNX2, Osterix, ALP, and Col1a1 mRNA were reduced in EPLINβ knockdown cells, suggesting an important role for EPLINβ in osteoblast formation. In conclusion, we propose that EPLINβ is involved in the assembly of cadherin-catenin complexes in osteoblasts and affects bone formation.