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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Characterization of mouse cathepsin K gene, the gene promoter, and the gene expression.

Cathepsin K, a lysosomal cysteine protease, is abundantly and selectively expressed in osteoclasts and has a specialized role in osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. In contrast to function studies, transcription regulation of cathepsin K remains largely unknown. In this study, the gene encoding mouse cathepsin K and the promoter have been isolated and completely sequenced. In addition, the temporal and spatial expressions of cathepsin K have been characterized. Intrachromosomal mapping studies revealed that the gene contains eight exons and seven introns spanning approximately 10.6 kb of genomic DNA, a genomic organization that was highly conserved with respect to its human homology. Analysis of the 9 kb 5' flanking region indicates that this gene lacks canonical TATA and CAAT boxes and contains multiple putative transcription regulatory elements which are also present in the comparable position of 5' flanking region of human cathepsin K gene. Mouse cathepsin K was found to be a single-copy gene. Northern blot analysis of RNAs from a number of mouse tissues revealed that cathepsin K mRNA is selectively expressed in osteoclast. The selective expression of cathepsin K was confirmed by anticathepsin K immunohistochemical staining. The sequence of cathepsin K expression was linked to osteoclast differentiation in vivo and in vitro by a tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase-anticathepsin K dual immunostaining technique. Cathepsin K is initially expressed at the preosteoclast stage and throughout the mature osteoclast stage. The primer extension assay indicated a major transcription start site 58 bp upstream of the initiator Met codon. The characterization of the cathepsin K gene, its promoter, and the temporal and spatial expression may provide valuable insights into its osteoclast-specific expression and the molecular mechanisms responsible for osteoclast activation.[1]


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