Rapamycin and the transcription factor C/EBPbeta as a switch in osteoclast differentiation: implications for lytic bone diseases


  • J.J. Smink
  • A. Leutz


  • Journal of Molecular Medicine


  • J Mol Med 88 (3): 227-233


  • Lytic bone diseases and in particular osteoporosis are common age-related diseases characterized by enhanced bone fragility due to loss of bone density. Increasingly, osteoporosis poses a major global health-care problem due to the growth of the elderly population. Recently, it was found that the gene regulatory transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPbeta) is involved in bone metabolism. C/EBPbeta occurs as different protein isoforms of variable amino terminal length, and regulation of the C/EBPbeta isoform ratio balance was found to represent an important factor in osteoclast differentiation and bone homeostasis. Interestingly, adjustment of the C/EBPbeta isoform ratio by the process of translational control is downstream of the mammalian target of rapamycin kinase (mTOR), a sensor of the nutritional status and a target of immunosuppressive and anticancer drugs. The findings imply that modulating the process of translational control of C/EBPbeta isoform expression could represent a novel therapeutic approach in osteolytic bone diseases, including cancer and infection-induced bone loss.