Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.509, No.3, 728-733, 2019
Connexin43 regulates osteoprotegerin expression via ERK1/2-dependent recruitment of Sp1
In bone, connexin43 expression in cells of the osteoblast lineage plays an important role in restraining osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption. While there is a consensus around the notion that the anti-osteoclastogenic factor, osteoprotegerin, is a driver of this effect, how connexin43 regulates osteoprotegerin gene expression is unclear. Here, we show that loss of connexin43 decreased osteoprotegerin gene expression and reduced ERK1/2 activation. Conversely, overexpression of connexin43 increased osteoprotegerin expression and enhanced ERK1/2 activation. This increase in phospho-ERK1/2 is required for connexin43 to induce transcription from the osteoprotegerin proximal promoter. Connexin43 increased promoter activity via a specific 200 base pair region of the osteoprotegerin promoter located at -1486 to -1286 with respect to the transcriptional start site, a region which includes four Sp1 binding elements. Further, activation of this promoter region required an intact functional connexin43, as hypomorphic or dominant negative connexin43 mutant constructs, including one with increased hemichannel activity, were unable to stimulate osteoprotegerin expression as strongly as wild type connexin43. Using chromatin immunoprecipitations, we show that connexin43 expression enhanced the recruitment of Sp1, but not Runx2, to the osteoprotegerin proximal promoter. In total, these data show that connexin43-dependent gap junctional communication among osteoblast cells permits efficient ERK1/2 activation. ERK1/2 signaling promotes the recruitment of the potent transcriptional activator, Sp1, to the osteoprotegerin proximal promoter, resulting in robust transcription of anti-osteoclastogenic factor, osteoprotegerin. (C) 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.