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Cell Metab. 2006 Dec;4(6):441-51.

ATF4 mediation of NF1 functions in osteoblast reveals a nutritional basis for congenital skeletal dysplasiae.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Bone Disease program of Texas, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


The transcription factor ATF4 enhances bone formation by favoring amino acid import and collagen synthesis in osteoblasts, a function requiring its phosphorylation by RSK2, the kinase inactivated in Coffin-Lowry Syndrome. Here, we show that in contrast, RSK2 activity, ATF4-dependent collagen synthesis, and bone formation are increased in mice lacking neurofibromin in osteoblasts (Nf1(ob)(-/-) mice). Independently of RSK2, ATF4 phosphorylation by PKA is enhanced in Nf1(ob)(-/-) mice, thereby increasing Rankl expression, osteoclast differentiation, and bone resorption. In agreement with ATF4 function in amino acid transport, a low-protein diet decreased bone protein synthesis and normalized bone formation and bone mass in Nf1(ob)(-/-) mice without affecting other organ weight, while a high-protein diet overcame Atf4(-/-) and Rsk2(-/-) mice developmental defects, perinatal lethality, and low bone mass. By showing that ATF4-dependent skeletal dysplasiae are treatable by dietary manipulations, this study reveals a molecular connection between nutrition and skeletal development.

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