ABSTRACT: Defects in stem cell renewal or progenitor cell expansion underlie ageing-related diseases such as osteoporosis. Yet much remains unclear about the mechanisms regulating progenitor expansion. Here we show that the tyrosine kinase c-Abl plays an important role in osteoprogenitor expansion. c-Abl interacts with and phosphorylates BMPRIA and the phosphorylation differentially influences the interaction of BMPRIA with BMPRII and the Tab1-Tak1 complex, leading to uneven activation of Smad1/5/8 and Erk1/2, the canonical and non-canonical BMP pathways that direct the expression of p16(INK4a). c-Abl deficiency shunts BMP signalling from Smad1/5/8 to Erk1/2, leading to p16(INK4a) upregulation and osteoblast senescence. Mouse genetic studies revealed that p16(INK4a) controls mesenchymal stem cell maintenance and osteoblast expansion and mediates the effects of c-Abl deficiency on osteoblast expansion and bone formation. These findings identify c-Abl as a regulator of BMP signalling pathways and uncover a role for c-Abl in p16(INK4a) expression and osteoprogenitor expansion.
Nature Cell Biology 06/2012; 14(7):727-37. · 19.49 Impact Factor