Biphasic and dosage-dependent regulation of osteoclastogenesis by -catenin. Academic Article uri icon


  • Wnt/-catenin signaling is a critical regulator of skeletal physiology. However, previous studies have mainly focused on its roles in osteoblasts, while its specific function in osteoclasts is unknown. This is a clinically important question because neutralizing antibodies against Wnt antagonists are promising new drugs for bone diseases. Here, we show that in osteoclastogenesis, -catenin is induced during the macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF)-mediated quiescence-to-proliferation switch but suppressed during the RANKL-mediated proliferation-to-differentiation switch. Genetically, -catenin deletion blocks osteoclast precursor proliferation, while -catenin constitutive activation sustains proliferation but prevents osteoclast differentiation, both causing osteopetrosis. In contrast, -catenin heterozygosity enhances osteoclast differentiation, causing osteoporosis. Biochemically, Wnt activation attenuates whereas Wnt inhibition stimulates osteoclastogenesis. Mechanistically, -catenin activation increases GATA2/Evi1 expression but abolishes RANKL-induced c-Jun phosphorylation. Therefore, -catenin exerts a pivotal biphasic and dosage-dependent regulation of osteoclastogenesis. Importantly, these findings suggest that Wnt activation is a more effective treatment for skeletal fragility than previously recognized that confers dual anabolic and anti-catabolic benefits.

published proceedings

  • Mol Cell Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Wei, W., Zeve, D., Suh, J. M., Wang, X., Du, Y., Zerwekh, J. E., ... Wan, Y.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011 11:11 AM