Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Genetics

First Advisor

Jolene Windle


Paget’s disease (PDB) is the second most common metabolic bone disease after osteoporosis, affecting up to 3% of adults over age 55. It is characterized by focal lesions of bone resorbed by hyperactive osteoclasts coupled with rapid formation of highly disorganized, low quality bone formed by osteoblasts. Such lesions cause skeletal deformity, fractures, and other symptoms that significantly decrease quality of life. In 2001, mutations in the SQSTM1/p62 gene were found in a subset of Paget’s patients. The work summarized in this dissertation sought to answer two broad questions: what is the function of p62 in normal bone homeostasis and how do PDB-associated mutations alter it? These studies took advantage of two mouse models: p62 knock-out (KO) mice, and p62P394L “knock-in” (KI) mice carrying the most common PDB-associated mutation. KO, KI, and wildtype (WT) controls were aged to one year for skeletal-histological characterization. No differences were observed in a variety of bone parameters between WT and KO bones, while bones from age-matched KI mice exhibited a 33% decrease in bone volume and a 25% increase in osteoclast formation. In vivo, TNF-α caused a potent induction of osteoclastogenesis in calvariae of WT and KI, but not KO, mice. In vitro, RANKL induced osteoclast formation in a dose-dependent manner in WT and KI, but not KO, cultures. Gene expression profiling of RANKL-treated osteoclast progenitors from WT, KO, and KI mice was then performed to identify the changes in signaling pathways responsible for these effects. Surprisingly, gene expression patterns from all three groups were consistent with robust activation of NFκB signaling in RANKL-treated samples, indicating that p62 is dispensable for RANKL activation of NFκB. Interestingly, gene expression patterns in KO cells suggested impaired proliferation and response to reactive oxygen species (ROS), a finding which was confirmed in cell culture experiments. In contrast, KI cells displayed enrichment for genes associated with the unfolded protein response, consistent with p62’s role in ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation via proteolysis and autophagy. These studies have therefore generated several novel hypotheses concerning the role of p62 in both normal bone homeostasis and Paget’s disease of bone.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

April 2014