We have found that the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway exerts exquisite control of osteoblast differentiation and bone formation in vitro and in vivo in rodents. Structurally different inhibitors that bind to specific catalytic β subunits of the 20S proteasome stimulated bone formation in bone organ cultures in concentrations as low as 10 nM. When administered systemically to mice, the proteasome inhibitors epoxomicin and proteasome inhibitor–1 increased bone volume and bone formation rates over 70% after only 5 days of treatment. Since the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway has been shown to modulate expression of the Drosophila homologue of the bone morphogenetic protein-2 and -4 (BMP-2 and BMP-4) genes, we examined the effects of noggin, an endogenous inhibitor of BMP-2 and BMP-4 on bone formation stimulated by these compounds and found that it was abrogated. These compounds increased BMP-2 but not BMP-4 or BMP-6 mRNA expression in osteoblastic cells, suggesting that BMP-2 was responsible for the observed bone formation that was inhibited by noggin. We show proteasome inhibitors regulate BMP-2 gene expression at least in part through inhibiting the proteolytic processing of Gli3 protein. Our results suggest that the ubiquitin-proteasome machinery regulates osteoblast differentiation and bone formation and that inhibition of specific components of this system may be useful therapeutically in common diseases of bone loss.
I.R. Garrett, D. Chen, G. Gutierrez, M. Zhao, A. Escobedo, G. Rossini, S.E. Harris, W. Gallwitz, K.B. Kim, S. Hu, C.M. Crews, G.R. Mundy
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.