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Int J Biol Sci. 2012;8(10):1398-407. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.5079. Epub 2012 Nov 6.

TRAF family member-associated NF-κB activator (TANK) induced by RANKL negatively regulates osteoclasts survival and function.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham AL 35294-2182, USA.


Osteoclasts are the principle bone-resorbing cells. Precise control of balanced osteoclast activity is indispensable for bone homeostasis. Osteoclast activation mediated by RANK-TRAF6 axis has been clearly identified. However, a negative regulation-machinery in osteoclast remains unclear. TRAF family member-associated NF-κB activator (TANK) is induced by about 10 folds during osteoclastogenesis, according to a genome-wide analysis of gene expression before and after osteoclast maturation, and confirmed by western blot and quantitative RT-PCR. Bone marrow macrophages (BMMs) transduced with lentivirus carrying tank-shRNA were induced to form osteoclast in the presence of RANKL and M-CSF. Tank expression was downregulated by 90% by Tank-shRNA, which is confirmed by western blot. Compared with wild-type (WT) cells, osteoclastogenesis of Tank-silenced BMMs was increased, according to tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) stain on day 5 and day 7. Number of bone resorption pits by Tank-silenced osteoclasts was increased by 176% compared with WT cells, as shown by wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) stain and scanning electronic microscope (SEM) analysis. Survival rate of Tank-silenced mature osteoclast is also increased. However, acid production of Tank-knockdown cells was not changed compared with control cells. IκBα phosphorylation is increased in tank-silenced cells, indicating that TANK may negatively regulate NF-κB activity in osteoclast. In conclusion, Tank, whose expression is increased during osteoclastogenesis, inhibits osteoclast formation, activity and survival, by regulating NF-κB activity and c-FLIP expression. Tank enrolls itself in a negative feedback loop in bone resorption. These results may provide means for therapeutic intervention in diseases of excessive bone resorption.


NF-κB; Osteoclast.; RANKL; TANK

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