Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


SHP2, encoded by PTPN11, is required for survival, proliferation and differentiation of various cell types1,2. Germ line activating mutations in PTPN11 cause Noonan Syndrome, while somatic PTPN11 mutations cause childhood myeloproliferative disease and contribute to some solid tumors. Recently, heterozygous inactivating mutations in PTPN11 were found in metachondromatosis, a rare inherited disorder featuring multiple exostoses, endochondromas, joint destruction and bony deformities3,4. The detailed pathogenesis of this disorder has remained unclear. Here, we used a conditional knockout allele (Ptpn11fl) and Cre recombinase (Cre) transgenic mice to delete Ptpn11 specifically in monocytes, macrophages and osteoclasts (lysozyme M-Cre; LysMCre) or in cathepsin K (Ctsk)-expressing cells, previously thought to be osteoclasts. LysMCre;Ptpn11fl/fl mice had mild osteopetrosis. Surprisingly, however, CtskCre;Ptpn11fl/fl mice developed features strikingly similar to metachondromatosis. Lineage tracing revealed a novel population of Ctsk-Cre-expressing cells in the “Perichondrial Groove of Ranvier” that display markers and functional properties consistent with mesenchymal progenitors. Chondroid neoplasms arose from these cells and showed decreased Erk activation, increased Indian Hedgehog (Ihh) and Parathyroid hormone-related protein (Pthrp) expression and excessive proliferation. Shp2-deficient chondroprogenitors had decreased FGF-evoked Erk activation and enhanced Ihh and Pthrp expression, whereas FGFR or MEK inhibitor treatment of chondroid cells increased Ihh and Pthrp expression. Most importantly, Smoothened inhibitor treatment ameliorated metachondromatosis features in CtskCre;Ptpn11fl/fl mice. Thus, in contrast to its pro-oncogenic role in hematopoietic and epithelial cells, Ptpn11 is a tumor suppressor in cartilage, acting via an FGFR/MEK/ERK-dependent pathway in a novel progenitor cell population to prevent excessive Ihh production.


Nature. Author manuscript; available in PMC Aug 28, 2014. Published in final edited form as: Nature. Jul 25, 2013; 499(7459): 491–495. Published online Jul 17, 2013. doi: 10.1038/nature12396 PMCID: PMC4148013 NIHMSID: NIHMS497579