Physiological Genomics

Ascorbic acid regulates osterix expression in osteoblasts by activation of prolyl hydroxylase and ubiquitination-mediated proteosomal degradation pathway

Weirong Xing, Sheila Pourteymoor, Subburaman Mohan


Mouse genetic studies reveal that ascorbic acid (AA) is essential for osteoblast (OB) differentiation and that osterix (Osx) was a key downstream target of AA action in OBs. To determine the molecular pathways for AA regulation of Osx expression, we evaluated if AA regulates Osx expression by regulating production and/or actions of local growth factors and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Inhibition of actions of IGFs by inhibitory IGFBP-4, BMPs by noggin, and ECM-mediated integrin signaling by RGD did not block AA effects on Osx expression in OBs. Furthermore, blockade of components of MAPK signaling pathway had no effect on AA-induced Osx expression. Because AA is required for prolyl hydroxylase domain (PHD) activity and because PHD-induced prolyl-hydroxylation targets proteins to proteosomal degradation, we next tested if AA effect on Osx expression involves activation of PHD to hydroxylate and induce ubiquitin-proteosome-mediated degradation of transcriptional repressor(s) of Osx gene. Treatment of OBs with dimethyloxallyl glycine and ethyl 3, 4-dihydroxybenzoate, known inhibitors of PHD, completely blocked AA effect on Osx expression and OB differentiation. Knockdown of PHD2 expression by Lentivirus-mediated shRNA abolished AA-induced Osx induction and alkaline phosphatase activity. Furthermore, treatment of OBs with MG115, inhibitor of proteosomal degradation, completely blocked AA effects on Osx expression. Based on these data, we conclude that AA effect on Osx expression is mediated via a novel mechanism that involves PHD2 and proteosomal degradation of a yet to be identified transcriptional repressor that is independent of BMP, IGF-I, or integrin-mediated signaling in mouse OBs.

  • transcription
  • transcriptional repressor
  • bone formation
  • osteoblast
  • runx2
  • hypoxia-inducible factor 1α
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