Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(9):1629-1639. doi:10.7150/ijbs.41867 This issue

Research Paper

F2r negatively regulates osteoclastogenesis through inhibiting the Akt and NFκB signaling pathways

Yan Zhang1,2, He Wang2, Guochun Zhu2, Airong Qian1✉, Wei Chen2✉

1. Laboratory for Bone Metabolism, Key Lab for Space Biosciences and Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, Shaanxi, 710072, China.
2. Department of Pathology, The School of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.

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Zhang Y, Wang H, Zhu G, Qian A, Chen W. F2r negatively regulates osteoclastogenesis through inhibiting the Akt and NFκB signaling pathways. Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(9):1629-1639. doi:10.7150/ijbs.41867. Available from

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Graphic abstract

G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are pivotal drug targets for many diseases. Coagulation Factor II Thrombin Receptor (F2R) is an important member of GPCR family that is highly expressed in osteoclasts. However, the role of F2r in osteoclasts is still unclear. Here, to examine the functions of F2r on osteoclast formation, differentiation, activation, survival, and acidification, we employed loss-of-function and gain-of-function approaches to study F2r using F2r-targeted short hairpin RNA (sh-F2r) lentivirus and overexpression plasmid pLX304-F2r lentivirus respectively, in mouse bone marrow cells (MBMs) induced osteoclasts. We used three shRNAs targeting F2r which had the ability to efficiently and consistently knock down the expression of F2r at different levels. Notably, F2r knockdown trigged a significant increase in osteoclast activity, number, and size, as well as promoted bone resorption and F-actin ring formation with increased osteoclast marker gene expression. Moreover, F2r overexpression blocked osteoclast formation, maturation, and acidification, indicating that F2r negatively regulates osteoclast formation and function. Furthermore, we investigated the mechanism(s) underlying the role of F2r in osteoclasts. We detected RANKL-induced signaling pathways related protein changes F2r knockdown cells and found significantly increased pAkt levels in sh-F2r infected cells, as well as significantly enhanced phosphorylation of p65 and IKBα in early stages of RANKL stimulation. These data demonstrated that F2r responds to RANKL stimulation to attenuate osteoclastogenesis through inhibiting the both F2r-Akt and F2r-NFκB signaling pathways, which lead a reduction in the expression of osteoclast genes. Our study suggests that targeting F2r may be a novel therapeutic approach for bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.

Keywords: F2r, osteoclasts, bone resorption, Akt signaling pathway, NFκB signaling pathway