SIRT6 deficiency culminates in low-turnover osteopenia

Toshifumi Sugatani, Olga Agapova, Hartmut H. Malluche, Keith A. Hruska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Deficiency of Sirtuin 6 (SIRT6), a chromatin-related deacetylase, in mice reveals severe premature aging phenotypes including osteopenia. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms of SIRT6 in bone metabolism are unknown. Here we show that SIRT6 deficiency in mice produces low-turnover osteopenia caused by impaired bone formation and bone resorption, which are mechanisms similar to those of age-related bone loss. Mechanistically, SIRT6 interacts with runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and osterix (Osx), which are the two key transcriptional regulators of osteoblastogenesis, and deacetylates histone H3 at Lysine 9 (H3K9) at their promoters. Hence, excessively elevated Runx2 and Osx in SIRT6-/- osteoblasts lead to impaired osteoblastogenesis. In addition, SIRT6 deficiency produces hyperacetylation of H3K9 in the promoter of dickkopf-related protein 1 (Dkk1), a potent negative regulator of osteoblastogenesis, and osteoprotegerin, an inhibitor of osteoclastogenesis. Therefore, the resulting up-regulation of Dkk1 and osteoprotegerin levels contribute to impaired bone remodeling, leading to osteopenia with a low bone turnover in SIRT6-deficient mice. These results establish a new link between SIRT6 and bone remodeling that positively regulates osteoblastogenesis and osteoclastogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-177
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Osteoblast
  • Osteoclast
  • Osteopenia
  • Osx
  • Runx2
  • SIRT6


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