TGF-ß is a multifunctional cytokine that is involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and function. We previously reported an essential role of the TGF-ß -Smad2/3 pathways in RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing, we comprehensively identified Smad2/3 target genes in bone marrow macrophages. These genes were enriched in the gene population upregulated by TGF-ß and downregulated by RANKL. Recent studies have revealed that histone modifications, such as trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me3) and lysine 27 (H3K27me3), critically regulate key developmental steps. We identified Nedd9 as a Smad2/3 target gene whose histone modification pattern was converted from H3K4me3(+)/H3K4me27(+) to H3K4me3 (+)/H3K4me27(-) by TGF-ß. Nedd9 expression was increased by TGF-ß and suppressed by RANKL. Overexpression of Nedd9 partially rescued an inhibitory effect of a TGF-ß inhibitor, while gene silencing of Nedd9 suppressed RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis. RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis were reduced and stimulatory effects of TGF-ß on RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis were partially abrogated in cells from Nedd9-deficient mice although knockout mice did not show abnormal skeletal phenotypes. These results suggest that Nedd9 is a Smad2/3 target gene implicated in RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis.
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