Loss of myocyte enhancer factor 2 expression in osteoclasts leads to opposing skeletal phenotypes

Nicholas Blixt, Andrew Norton, Anqi Zhang, Conrado Aparicio, Hari Prasad, Rajaram Gopalakrishnan, Eric D. Jensen, Kim C. Mansky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Osteoclasts are multinuclear cells that resorb bone. Osteoclast differentiation is regulated by multiple transcription factors which may be acting in a single or multiple factor complex to regulate gene expression. Myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) is a family of transcription factors whose role during osteoclast differentiation has not been well characterized. Because MEF2A and MEF2D are the family members most highly expressed during osteoclast differentiation, we created conditional knockout mice models for MEF2A and/or MEF2D. In vitro cultures of A- and D-KO osteoclasts were smaller and less numerous than wild type cultures, while AD-KO osteoclasts were almost completely devoid of TRAP positive mononuclear cells. Female A-KO mice are osteopetrotic while male A- and D-KO mice of either sex had no significant in vivo skeletal phenotype, suggesting a sex-specific regulation of osteoclasts by MEF2A. Lastly, in vivo male AD-KO mice are osteopenic, indicating while MEF2 is required for M-CSF and RANKL-stimulated osteoclastogenesis in vitro, osteoclasts can form in the absence of MEF2 in vivo via a RANKL-alternative pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115466
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Estrogen
  • HDACs
  • MEF2
  • Osteoclasts
  • Sex specific
  • Transcription factors

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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