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Bone Res. 2018 Nov 10;6:32. doi: 10.1038/s41413-018-0030-y. eCollection 2018.

NUMB maintains bone mass by promoting degradation of PTEN and GLI1 via ubiquitination in osteoblasts.

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1State Key Laboratory of Oral Disease, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.
2The Mount Sinai Bone Program, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, NY 10029 USA.


The adaptor protein NUMB is involved in asymmetric division and cell fate determination and recognized as an antagonist of Notch. Previous studies have proved that Notch activation in osteoblasts contributes to a high bone mass. In this study,  however, an osteopenic phenotype was found in 9-week-old mice using osteoblastic specific Col1a1-2.3-Cre to ablate both Numb and its homologue Numbl . The trabecular bone mass decreased dramatically while the cortical bone mass was unaffected. Here, the Notch signal was not activated, while the tensin homologue deleted on human chromosome 10 (PTEN), which dephosphorylates phosphatidylinositide 3-kinases, was elevated, attenuating protein kinase B (Akt). The ubiquitination assay revealed that NUMB may physiologically promote PTEN ubiquitination in the presence of neural precursor cell-expressed developmentally downregulated protein 4-1. In addition, the deficiency of Numb/Numbl also activated the Hedgehog pathway through GLI1. This process was found to improve the ratio of the receptor activator of nuclear factor-kB ligand to osteoprotegerin, which enhanced the differentiation of osteoclasts and bone resorption . In conclusion, this study provides an insight into  new functons of   NUMB and NUMBL on bone homeostasis.

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