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J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 4;280(5):3583-9. Epub 2004 Nov 15.

Akt1/Akt2 and mammalian target of rapamycin/Bim play critical roles in osteoclast differentiation and survival, respectively, whereas Akt is dispensable for cell survival in isolated osteoclast precursors.

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Department of Pediatrics, Cell and Molecular Biology Unit, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Akt, also known as protein kinase B, is a serine/threonine protein kinase with antiapoptotic activities; also, it is a downstream target of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase. Here we show that Akt1/Akt2 play a critical role in osteoclast differentiation but not cell survival and that mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and Bim, a pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family member, are required for cell survival in isolated osteoclast precursors. To investigate the function of Akt1, Akt2, mTOR, and Bim, we employed a retroviral system for delivery of small interfering RNA into cells. Loss of Akt1 and/or Akt2 protein inhibited osteoclast differentiation due to down-regulation of IkappaB-kinase (IKK) alpha/beta activity, phosphorylation of IkappaB-alpha, nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NFkappaB) p50, and NFkappaB p50 DNA-binding activity. Surprisingly, deletion of Akt1 and/or Akt2 protein did not stimulate cleaved caspase-3 activity and failed to promote apoptosis. Conversely, loss of mTOR protein induced apoptosis due to up-regulation of cleaved caspase-3 activity. In addition, we found that mTOR is downstream of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (but not Akt) and that macrophage colony-stimulating factor regulates Bim expression through mTOR activation for cell survival. These results demonstrate that Akt1/Akt2 are key elements in osteoclast differentiation and that the macrophage colony-stimulating factor stimulation of mTOR leading to Bim inhibition is essential for cell survival in isolated osteoclast precursors.

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