Hyaluronan-CD44 interaction hampers migration of osteoclast-like cells by down-regulating MMP-9

Paola Spessotto, Francesca Maria Rossi, Massimo Degan, Raffaele Di Francia, Roberto Perris, Alfonso Colombatti, Valter Gattei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Osteoclast (OC) precursors migrate to putative sites of bone resorption to form functionally active, multinucleated cells. The preOC FLG 29.1 cells, known to be capable of irreversibly differentiating into multinucleated OC-like cells, displayed several features of primary OCs, including expression of specific integrins and the hyaluronan (HA) receptor CD44. OC-like FLG 29.1 cells adhered to and extensively migrated through membranes coated with fibronectin, vitronectin, and laminins, but, although strongly binding to HA, totally failed to move on this substrate. Moreover, soluble HA strongly inhibited OC-like FLG 29.1 cell migration on the permissive matrix substrates, and this behavior was dependent on its engagement with CD44, as it was fully restored by function-blocking anti-CD44 antibodies. HA did not modulate the cell-substrate binding affinity/avidity nor the expression levels of the corresponding integrins. MMP-9 was the major secreted metalloproteinase used by OC-like FLG 29.1 cells for migration, because this process was strongly inhibited by both TIMP-1 and GM6001, as well as by MMP-9-specific antisense oligonucleotides. After HA binding to CD44, a strong down-regulation of MMP-9 mRNA and protein was detected. These findings highlight a novel role of the HA-CD44 interaction in the context of OC-like cell motility, suggesting that it may act as a stop signal for bone-resorbing cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1133-1144
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 16 2002


  • Bone
  • Cell migration
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Metalloproteinase
  • Osteoclast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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