• RANKL;
  • RAB27A;
  • RAB27B;
  • JINX


The quantity of the receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) expressed at the cell surface of osteoblastic cells is an important factor regulating osteoclast activation. Previously, RANKL was found to be localized to secretory lysosomes in osteoblastic cells and to translocate to the cell surface in response to stimulation with RANK-Fc-conjugated beads. However, the in vivo significance of stimulation-dependent RANKL release has not been elucidated. In this study we show that small GTPases Rab27a and Rab27b are involved in the stimulation-dependent RANKL release pathway in osteoblastic cells. Suppression of either Rab27a or Rab27b resulted in a marked reduction in RANKL release after stimulation. Slp4-a, Slp5, and Munc13-4 acted as effector molecules that coordinated Rab27a/b activity in this pathway. Suppression of Rab27a/b or these effector molecules did not inhibit accumulation of RANKL in lysosomal vesicles around the stimulated sites but did inhibit the fusion of these vesicles to the plasma membrane. In osteoblastic cells, suppression of the effector molecules resulted in reduced osteoclastogenic ability. Furthermore, Jinx mice, which lack a functional Munc13-4 gene, exhibited a phenotype characterized by increased bone volume near the tibial metaphysis caused by low bone resorptive activity. In conclusion, stimulation-dependent RANKL release is mediated by Rab27a/b and their effector molecules, and this mechanism may be important for osteoclast activation in vivo. © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.