Competitive blocking of LRP4–sclerostin binding interface strongly promotes bone anabolic functions

Svetlana Katchkovsky, Biplab Chatterjee, Chen Viki Abramovitch-Dahan, Niv Papo, Noam Levaot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Induction of bone formation by Wnt ligands is inhibited when sclerostin (Scl), an osteocyte-produced antagonist, binds to its receptors, the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related proteins 5 or 6 (LRP5/6). Recently, it was shown that enhanced inhibition is achieved by Scl binding to the co-receptor LRP4. However, it is not clear if the binding of Scl to LRP4 facilitates Scl binding to LRP5/6 or inhibits the Wnt pathway in an LRP5/6-independent manner. Here, using the yeast display system, we demonstrate that Scl exhibits a stronger binding affinity for LRP4 than for LRP6. Moreover, we found stronger Scl binding to LRP6 in the presence of LRP4. We further show that a Scl mutant (SclN93A), which tightly binds LRP4 but not LRP6, does not inhibit the Wnt pathway on its own. We demonstrate that SclN93A competes with Scl for a common binding site on LRP4 and antagonizes Scl inhibition of the Wnt signaling pathway in osteoblasts in vitro. Finally, we demonstrate that 2 weeks of bi-weekly subcutaneous injections of SclN93A fused to the fragment crystallizable (Fc) domain of immunoglobulin (SclN93AFc), which retains the antagonistic activity of the mutant, significantly increases bone formation rate and enhances trabecular volumetric bone fraction, trabecular number, and bone length in developing mice. Our data show that LRP4 serves as an anchor that facilitates Scl–LRP6 binding and that inhibition of the Wnt pathway by Scl depends on its prior binding to LRP4. We further provide evidence that compounds that inhibit Scl–LRP4 interactions offer a potential strategy to promote anabolic bone functions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Bone formation
  • Drug targets
  • LRP4
  • LRP6
  • Sclerostin
  • Wnt pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Pharmacology


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