The ruffled membrane, the resorptive organelle of the osteoclast, is generated by fusion of intracytoplasmic acidifying vesicles with the plasma membrane, an event analogous to regulated exocytosis. While the ruffled membrane is essential to the bone resorptive process, the mechanisms governing its generation are unknown. However, regulated exocytosis is mediated, in part, by isoforms of the Rab3 subset of Rab GTPases. Because of similarities between exocytosis and ruffled membrane formation, we asked if Rab3 proteins are expressed by osteoclasts or their precursors, and if so, are these molecules regulated by agents known to prompt the osteoclast phenotype? We find murine osteoclast precursors, in the form of bone marrow macrophages (BMMs), express at least two Rab3 isoforms, namely A and B/C, which are individually enhanced by a variety of hematopoietic cytokines. Consistent with the osteoclastogenic properties of a number of these cytokines, differentiation of BMMs into osteoclasts, in vitro, is associated with increased expression of both isoforms, particularly Rab3B/C. Finally, Rab3B/C localizes with the avian osteoclast H+ATPase (vacuolar proton pump) and pp60(c-src), both intracellularly and within acidifying vesicles derived largely from the ruffled membrane. Thus, expression of specific rab3 proteins, an event which may control formation of the osteoclast ruffled membrane, is modulated by cytokines during osteoclastogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1855-1860
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1999


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