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Open Access Review

The adaptor protein p62/SQSTM1 in osteoclast signaling pathways

Stephen McManus and Sophie Roux*

Author Affiliations

Division of Rheumatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, 3001, 12th Avenue North, Sherbrooke, PQ, Canada

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Journal of Molecular Signaling 2012, 7:1  doi:10.1186/1750-2187-7-1

Published: 4 January 2012


Paget's disease of bone (PDB) is a skeletal disorder characterized by focal and disorganized increases in bone turnover and overactive osteoclasts. The discovery of mutations in the SQSTM1/p62 gene in numerous patients has identified protein p62 as an important modulator of bone turnover. In both precursors and mature osteoclasts, the interaction between receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) and its receptor RANK results in signaling cascades that ultimately activate transcription factors, particularly NF-κB and NFATc1, promoting and regulating the osteoclast differentiation, activity, and survival. As a scaffold with multiple protein-protein interaction motifs, p62 is involved in virtually all the RANKL-activated osteoclast signaling pathways, along with being implicated in numerous other cellular processes. The p62 adaptor protein is one of the functional links reported between RANKL and TRAF6-mediated NF-κB activation, and also plays a major role as a shuttling factor that targets polyubiquitinated proteins for degradation by either the autophagy or proteasome pathways. The dysregulated expression and/or activity of p62 in bone disease up-regulates osteoclast functions. This review aims to outline and summarize the role of p62 in RANKL-induced signaling pathways and in ubiquitin-mediated signaling in osteoclasts, and the impact of PDB-associated p62 mutations on these processes.

osteoclast; p62; RANKL signaling; autophagy