Maintenance of optimal bone mass is controlled through the concerted functions of several cell types, including bone resorbing osteoclasts. Osteoclasts function to remove calcified tissue during developmental bone modeling, and degrade bone at sites of damage during bone remodeling. Changes to bone homeostasis can arise with alterations in osteoclastogenesis and/or catabolic activity that are not offset by anabolic activity; thus, factors that regulate osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption are of interest to further our understanding of basic bone biology, and as potential targets for therapeutic intervention. Several key cytokines, including RANKL and M-CSF, as well as co-stimulatory factors elicit kinase signaling cascades that promote osteoclastogenesis. These kinase cascades are offset by the action of protein phosphatases, including members of the serine/threonine phosphatase family. Here we review the functions of serine/threonine phosphatases and their control of osteoclast differentiation and function, while highlighting deficiencies in our understanding of this understudied class of proteins within the field.
Keywords: Bone remodeling; Kinase; M-CSF; Myeloid lineage; Osteoclast; Phosphatase inhibitor; RANKL.
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