Authors: Arianna Mangiavacchi, Gabriele Morelli, Sjur Reppe, Alfonso Saera-Vila, Peng Liu, Benjamin Eggerschwiler, Huoming Zhang, Dalila Bensaddek, Elisa A Casanova, Carolina Medina Gomez, Vid Prijatelj, Francesco Della Valle, Nazerke, Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, Fernando Rivadeneira, Paolo Cinelli, Kaare Morten Gautvik, and Valerio Orlando 

Publication: The EMBO Journal

Published: July, 2024

Link: https://doi.org/10.1038/s44318-024-00143-z

Abstract: Transposable elements (TEs) are mobile genetic modules of viral derivation that have been co-opted to become modulators of mammalian gene expression. TEs are a major source of endogenous dsRNAs, signaling molecules able to coordinate inflammatory responses in various physiological processes. Here, we provide evidence for a positive involvement of TEs in inflammation-driven bone repair and mineralization. In newly fractured mice bone, we observed an early transient upregulation of repeats occurring concurrently with the initiation of the inflammatory stage. In human bone biopsies, analysis revealed a significant correlation between repeats expression, mechanical stress and bone mineral density. We investigated a potential link between LINE-1 (L1) expression and bone mineralization by delivering a synthetic L1 RNA to osteoporotic patient-derived mesenchymal stem cells and observed a dsRNA-triggered protein kinase (PKR)-mediated stress response that led to strongly increased mineralization. This response was associated with a strong and transient inflammation, accompanied by a global translation attenuation induced by eIF2α phosphorylation. We demonstrated that L1 transfection reshaped the secretory profile of osteoblasts, triggering a paracrine activity that stimulated the mineralization of recipient cells.