Proline is a multifunctional imino acid with myriad uses in the cell. Aside from direct incorporation into protein, proline can be metabolized via a process known as the proline cycle. Here, proline is oxidized by proline oxidase (PRODH) to form D1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C). PRODH is a FAD+ dependent enzyme that donates electrons to complex II of the mitorchondrial electron transport chain thus coupling proline oxidation to ATP synthesis. P5C is converted back into proline by the NADH dependent enzyme pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase (PYCR) to provide reducing power for glycolysis and the pentose phosphate pathways. It is unknown how osteoblasts obtain proline, how proline uptake is regulated, or if and when the proline cycle is required during differentiation. Osteoblasts express a diverse array of membrane-tethered amino acid transporters to facilitate proline uptake. We have identified the system A neutral amino acid transporter SNAT2 (encoded by Slc38a2) as the most highly expressed putative proline transporter in osteoblasts. Our preliminary data indicates WNT stimulates proline uptake through SNAT2 that is necessary for osteoblast differentiation in vitro. Moreover, mice homozygous for a null allele of Slc38a2 (Slc38a2-/-) have defects in endochondral ossification. In this proposal, we will 1) establish the necessity of proline uptake through Slc38a2/SNAT2 to regulate osteoblast differentiation and bone formation in vivo, 2) determine how SNAT2 activity is regulated by WNT signaling and 3) elucidate the necessity of proline metabolism via the proline cycle in differentiating osteoblasts. Our findings will have broad implications in bone development, maintenance of bone mass, skeletal repair and regeneration.
Proline uptake and metabolism via the proline cycle is a critical regulator of cancer cell survival and proliferation, however the role of proline uptake and the proline cycle during osteoblast differentiation and bone formation is unknown. Data generated by this proposal will: 1) establish the necessity and regulation of proline uptake and metabolism during physiological bone formation, and 2) eludicate the role of the proline cycle during osteoblast differentiation and bone formtation. Our findings will have broad implications in bone development and the maintenance and regeneration of bone mass.