N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-homoserine lactone regulates osteoblast apoptosis and differentiation by mediating intracellular calcium

Jiajie Guo, Ziyi Wang, Yao Weng, Haoze Yuan, Kaya Yoshida, Mika Ikegame, Kenta Uchibe, Hiroshi Kamioka, Kazuhiko Ochiai, Hirohiko Okamura, Lihong Qiu

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) is associated with periapical periodontitis. The lesions are characterized by a disorder in osteoblast metabolism. Quorum sensing molecular N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-homoserine lactone (AHL) is secreted by P. aeruginosa and governs the expression of numerous virulence factors. AHL can trigger intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i) fluctuations in many host cells. However, it is unclear whether AHL can regulate osteoblast metabolism by affecting [Ca2+]i changes or its spatial correlation. We explored AHL-induced apoptosis and differentiation in pre-osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells and evaluated [Ca2+]i mobilization using several extraction methods. The spatial distribution pattern of [Ca2+]i among cells was investigated by Moran's I, an index of spatial autocorrelation. We found that 30 μM and 50 μM AHL triggered opposing osteoblast fates. At 50 μM, AHL inhibited osteoblast differentiation by promoting mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis and negatively regulating osteogenic marker genes, including Runx2, Osterix, bone sialoprotein (Bsp), and osteocalcin (OCN). In contrast, prolonged treatment with 30 μM AHL promoted osteoblast differentiation concomitantly with cell apoptosis. The elevation of [Ca2+]i levels in osteoblasts treated with 50 μM AHL was spatially autocorrelated, while no such phenomenon was observed in 30 μM AHL-treated osteoblasts. The blocking of cell-to-cell spatial autocorrelation in the osteoblasts provoked by 50 μM AHL significantly inhibited apoptosis and partially restored differentiation. Our observations suggest that AHL affects the fate of osteoblasts (apoptosis and differentiation) by affecting the spatial correlation of [Ca2+]i changes. Thus, AHL acts as a double-edged sword for osteoblast function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109740
JournalCellular Signalling
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Apoptosis
  • Calcium
  • Differentiation
  • N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-homoserine lactone
  • Osteoblast metabolism
  • Spatial autocorrelation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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