Osteoclasts are bone-resorbing, multinucleated giant cells that are essential for bone remodeling and are formed through cell fusion of mononuclear precursor cells. Although receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) has been demonstrated to be an important osteoclastogenic cytokine, the cell surface molecules involved in osteoclastogenesis are mostly unknown. Here, we report that the seven-transmembrane receptor-like molecule, dendritic cell-specific transmembrane protein (DC-STAMP) is involved in osteoclastogenesis. Expression of DC-STAMP is rapidly induced in osteoclast precursor cells by RANKL and other osteoclastogenic stimulations. Targeted inhibition of DC-STAMP by small interfering RNAs and specific antibody markedly suppressed the formation of multinucleated osteoclast-like cells. Overexpression of DC-STAMP enhanced osteoclastogenesis in the presence of RANKL. Furthermore, DC-STAMP directly induced the expression of the osteoclast marker tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase. These data demonstrate for the first time that DC-STAMP has an essential role in osteoclastogenesis.
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