Actin-related protein 2/3 complex is required for actin ring formation

J Bone Miner Res. 2004 Mar;19(3):499-506. doi: 10.1359/JBMR.0301238. Epub 2003 Dec 22.


Actin rings are vital for osteoclastic bone resorption, and actin-related protein 2/3 complex is a pivotal regulator of actin polymerization. Actin-related protein 2/3 complex was found in the podosomes of actin rings. A short interfering RNA knocked down expression of actin-related protein 2 in osteoclasts and disrupted actin rings, suggesting that the complex is crucial to actin ring formation.

Introduction: To resorb bone, osteoclasts form an extracellular acidic compartment segregated by a sealing zone. This is dependent on an actin ring that is composed of filamentous actin organized into dynamic structures called podosomes. The actin-related protein 2/3 (Arp2/3) complex is a vital regulator of actin polymerization. We tested whether the Arp2/3 complex is a component of actin rings and is important for actin ring formation.

Materials and methods: Western blot analysis was used to determine levels of Arp2 and Arp3, two components of the Arp2/3 complex in osteoclast-like cells. Confocal microscopy studies using antibodies for immunocytochemistry demonstrated localization of Arp2/3 complex in osteoclasts. Short interfering RNA oligonucleotides (siRNAs) were made against Arp2 and used to knock down its expression.

Results: A 3-fold increase in Arp2 and Arp3 was detected during RANKL-induced differentiation of RAW 264.7 cells into osteoclast-like cells. Arp2/3 complex was concentrated in actin rings and enriched near the sealing zone. Arp2/3 complex co-localized with cortactin, a component of podosomes, but not vinculin, which surrounds podosomes. siRNA against Arp2, transfected into RAW 264.7 cells 5 days after stimulation with RANKL, reduced Arp2 protein levels 70% compared with cells transfected with ineffective siRNAs. Cytochemical characterization of RAW 264.7 osteoclast-like cells and marrow osteoclasts in which Arp2 was knocked down revealed fewer podosomes and no actin rings, although many cells remained well spread.

Conclusions: These data show that Arp2/3 complex is a component of actin rings and that the presence of Arp2/3 complex is vital to the formation of actin rings. In addition, the results show the use of siRNAs for the study of RAW 264.7 osteoclast-like cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure*
  • Actin-Related Protein 2
  • Actin-Related Protein 3
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Bone Resorption
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Osteoclasts / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation


  • ACTR2 protein, human
  • ACTR3 protein, human
  • Actin-Related Protein 2
  • Actin-Related Protein 3
  • Actins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering