Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase is a central component involved in the signal transduction of the DNA damage response (DDR) and thus plays a critical role in the maintenance of genomic integrity. Although the primary functions of ATM are associated with the DDR, emerging data suggest that ATM has many additional roles that are not directly related to the DDR, including the regulation of oxidative stress signaling, insulin sensitivity, mitochondrial homeostasis, and lymphocyte development. Patients and mice lacking ATM exhibit growth retardation and lower bone mass; however, the mechanisms underlying the skeletal defects are not fully understood. In the present study, we generated mutant mice in which ATM is specifically inactivated in osteoclasts. The mutant mice did not exhibit apparent developmental defects but showed reduced bone mass due to increased osteoclastic bone resorption. Osteoclasts lacking ATM were more resistant to apoptosis and showed a prolonged lifespan compared to the controls. Notably, the inactivation of ATM in osteoclasts resulted in enhanced NF-B signaling and an increase in the expression of NF-B-targeted genes. The present study reveals a novel function for ATM in regulating bone metabolism by suppressing the lifespan of osteoclasts and osteoclast-mediated bone resorption.
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