Double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) plays a critical role in antiviral defence of the host cells. PKR is also involved in cell cycle progression, cell proliferation, cell differentiation, tumorigenesis, and apoptosis. We previously reported that PKR is required for differentiation and calcification of osteoblasts. However, it is unknown about the role of PKR in osteoclast differentiation. A dominant-negative PKR mutant cDNA, in which the amino acid lysine at 296 was replaced with arginine, was transfected into RAW264.7 cells. We have established the cell line that stably expresses the PKR mutant gene (PKR-K/R). Phosphorylation of PKR and alpha-subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 was not stimulated by polyinosic-polycytidylic acid in the PKR-K/R cells. RANKL stimulated the formation of TRAP-positive multinuclear cells in RAW264.7 cells. However, TRAP-positive multinuclear cells were not formed in the PKR-K/R cells even when the cells were stimulated with higher doses of RANKL. A specific inhibitor of PKR, 2-aminopurine, also suppressed the RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation in RAW264.7 cells. The expression of macrophage fusion receptor and dendritic cell-specific transmembrane protein significantly decreased in the PKR-K/R cells by real time PCR analysis. The results of RT-PCR revealed that the mRNA expression of osteoclast markers (cathepsin K and calcitonin receptor) was suppressed in the PKR-K/R cells and RAW264.7 cells treated with 2-aminopurine. Expression of NF-kappaB protein was suppressed in the PKR-K/R cells and 2-aminopurine-treated RAW264.7 cells. The level of STAT1 protein expression was elevated in the PKR-K/R cells compared with that of the wild-type cells. Immunohistochemical study showed that PKR was localized in osteoclasts of metatarsal bone of newborn mouse. The finding that the PKR-positive multinuclear cells should be osteoclasts was confirmed by TRAP-staining. Our present study indicates that PKR plays important roles in the differentiation of osteoclasts.
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