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Human and murine osteocalcin gene expression: conserved tissue restricted expression and divergent responses to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in vivo


Human and murine osteocalcin genes demonstrate similar cell-specific expression patterns despite significant differences in gene locus organization and sequence variations in cis-acting regulatory elements. To investigate whether differences in these regulatory regions result in an altered response to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25-(OH)2D3] in vivo, we compared the response of the endogenous mouse osteocalcin gene to a bacterial reporter gene directed by flanking regions of the human osteocalcin gene in transgenic mice. Transgene expression colocalized with endogenous osteocalcin expression in serial sections, being detected in osteoblasts, osteocytes and hypertrophic chondrocytes. In calvarial cell culture lysates from transgenic and nontransgenic mice, the endogenous mouse osteocalcin gene did not respond to 1,25-(OH)2D3 treatment. Despite this, transgene activity was significantly increased in the same cells. Similarly, Northern blots of total cellular RNA and in situ hybridization studies of transgenic animals demonstrated a maximal increase in transgene expression at 6 h after 1,25-(OH)2D3 injection (23.6+/-3.6-fold) with a return to levels equivalent to uninjected animals by 24 h (1.2+/-0.1-fold). This increase in transgene expression was also observed at 6 h after 1,25-(OH)2D3 treatment in animals on a low calcium diet (25.2+/-7.7-fold) as well as in transgenic mice fed a vitamin D-deficient diet containing strontium chloride to block endogenous 1,25-(OH)2D3 production (7.5+/-0.9-fold). In contrast to the increased transgene expression levels, neither endogenous mouse osteocalcin mRNA levels nor serum osteocalcin levels were significantly altered after 1,25-(OH)2D3 injection in transgenic or nontransgenic mice, regardless of dietary manipulations, supporting evidence for different mechanisms regulating the response of human and mouse osteocalcin genes to 1,25-(OH)2D3. Although the cis- and trans-acting mechanisms directing cell-specific gene expression appear to be conserved in the mouse and human osteocalcin genes, responsiveness to 1,25-(OH)2D3 is not. The mouse osteocalcin genes do not respond to 1,25-(OH)2D3 treatment, but the human osteocalcin-directed transgene is markedly upregulated under the same conditions and in the same cells. The divergent responses of these homologous genes to 1,25-(OH)2D3 are therefore likely to be due to differences in mouse and human osteocalcin-regulatory sequences rather than to variation in the complement of trans-acting factors present in mouse osteoblastic cells. Increased understanding of these murine-human differences in osteocalcin regulation may shed light on the function of osteocalcin and its regulation by vitamin D in bone physiology.

Type Journal
ISBN 0888-8809 (Print)
Authors Sims, N. A.;White, C. P.;Sunn, K. L.;Thomas, G. P.;Drummond, M. L.;Morrison, N. A.;Eisman, J. A.;Gardiner, E. M. :
Published Date 1997-01-01
Published Volume 11
Published Issue 11
Published Pages 1695-708
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version