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PLoS Genet. 2005 Dec;1(6):e74. Epub 2005 Dec 16.

Ablation of the Sam68 RNA binding protein protects mice from age-related bone loss.

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Terry Fox Molecular Oncology Group and the Bloomfield Center for Research on Aging, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


The Src substrate associated in mitosis of 68 kDa (Sam68) is a KH-type RNA binding protein that has been shown to regulate several aspects of RNA metabolism; however, its physiologic role has remained elusive. Herein we report the generation of Sam68-null mice by homologous recombination. Aged Sam68-/- mice preserved their bone mass, in sharp contrast with 12-month-old wild-type littermates in which bone mass was decreased up to approximately 75%. In fact, the bone volume of the 12-month-old Sam68-/- mice was virtually indistinguishable from that of 4-month-old wild-type or Sam68-/- mice. Sam68-/- bone marrow stromal cells had a differentiation advantage for the osteogenic pathway. Moreover, the knockdown of Sam68 using short hairpin RNA in the embryonic mesenchymal multipotential progenitor C3H10T1/2 cells resulted in more pronounced expression of the mature osteoblast marker osteocalcin when differentiation was induced with bone morphogenetic protein-2. Cultures of mouse embryo fibroblasts generated from Sam68+/+ and Sam68-/- littermates were induced to differentiate into adipocytes with culture medium containing pioglitazone and the Sam68-/- mouse embryo fibroblasts shown to have impaired adipocyte differentiation. Furthermore, in vivo it was shown that sections of bone from 12-month-old Sam68-/- mice had few marrow adipocytes compared with their age-matched wild-type littermate controls, which exhibited fatty bone marrow. Our findings identify endogenous Sam68 as a positive regulator of adipocyte differentiation and a negative regulator of osteoblast differentiation, which is consistent with Sam68 being a modulator of bone marrow mesenchymal cell differentiation, and hence bone metabolism, in aged mice.

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