Alkaline phosphatase: Structure, expression and its function in bone mineralization

Gene. 2020 Sep 5:754:144855. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2020.144855. Epub 2020 Jun 6.


Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is highly expressed in the cells of mineralized tissue and plays a critical function in the formation of hard tissue. The existing status of this critical enzyme should be reviewed periodically. ALP increases inorganic phosphate local rates and facilitates mineralization as well as reduces the extracellular pyrophosphate concentration, an inhibitor of mineral formation. Mineralization is the production, inside matrix vesicles, of hydroxyapatite crystals that bud from the outermembrane of hypertrophic osteoblasts and chondrocytes. The expansion of hydroxyapatite formsinto the extracellular matrix and its accumulation between collagen fibrils is observed. Among various isoforms, the tissue-nonspecific isozyme of ALP (TNAP) is strongly expressed in bone, liver and kidney and plays a key function in the calcification of bones. TNAP hydrolyzes pyrophosphate and supplies inorganic phosphate to enhance mineralization. The biochemical substrates of TNAP are believed to be inorganic pyrophosphate and pyridoxal phosphate. These substrates concentrate in TNAP deficient condition which results in hypophosphatasia. The increased level of ALP expression and development in this environment would undoubtedly provide new and essential information about the fundamental molecular mechanisms of bone formation, offer therapeutic possibilities for the management of bone-related diseases.

Keywords: ALP; Bone mineralization; Hydroxyapatite; Hypophosphatasia; TNAP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alkaline Phosphatase / chemistry*
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / deficiency
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Calcification, Physiologic*
  • Humans
  • Hypophosphatasia / enzymology
  • Hypophosphatasia / pathology*
  • Isoenzymes


  • Isoenzymes
  • Alkaline Phosphatase