The tumour-necrosis-factor-family molecule osteoprotegerin ligand (OPGL; also known as TRANCE, RANKL and ODF) has been identified as a potential osteoclast differentiation factor and regulator of interactions between T cells and dendritic cells in vitro. Mice with a disrupted opgl gene show severe osteopetrosis and a defect in tooth eruption, and completely lack osteoclasts as a result of an inability of osteoblasts to support osteoclastogenesis. Although dendritic cells appear normal, opgl-deficient mice exhibit defects in early differentiation of T and B lymphocytes. Surprisingly, opgl-deficient mice lack all lymph nodes but have normal splenic structure and Peyer's patches. Thus OPGL is a new regulator of lymph-node organogenesis and lymphocyte development and is an essential osteoclast differentiation factor in vivo.
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