Osteoporosis is a major health problem; however, the mechanisms regulating adult bone mass are poorly understood. Cas-interacting zinc finger protein (CIZ) is a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein that localizes at cell adhesion plaques that form where osteoblasts attach to substrate. To investigate the potential role of CIZ in regulating adult bone mass, we examined the bones in CIZ-deficient mice. Bone volume was increased and the rates of bone formation were increased in CIZ-deficient mice, whereas bone resorption was not altered. CIZ deficiency enhanced the levels of mRNA expression of genes encoding proteins related to osteoblastic phenotypes, such as alkaline phosphatase (ALP) as well as osterix mRNA expression in whole long bones. Bone marrow cells obtained from the femora of CIZ-deficient mice revealed higher ALP activity in culture and formed more mineralized nodules than wild-type cells. CIZ deficiency enhanced bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-induced osteoblastic differentiation in bone marrow cells in cultures, indicating that BMP is the target of CIZ action. CIZ deficiency increased newly formed bone mass after femoral bone marrow ablation in vivo. Finally, BMP-2-induced bone formation on adult mouse calvariae in vivo was enhanced by CIZ deficiency. These results establish that CIZ suppresses the levels of adult bone mass through inhibition of BMP-induced activation of osteoblasts.
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