Vesicular trafficking is critical for the function of bone cells, exemplified by bone diseases such as osteopetrosis, which frequently results from defects in this process. Recent work has further dissected the role of the endolysosomal system in both bone formation by osteoblasts and bone resorption by osteoclasts. This pathway also plays an important role in the communication between these and other cells in bone, through trafficking and degradation of growth factors and their receptors, and microvesicle release. In addition, a crucial role for autophagy in bone remodelling and bone disease is beginning to emerge. These insights into the molecular control of bone remodelling raise the possibility of developing novel therapeutics for bone diseases designed to target specific aspects of this process.
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We thank Dr N Pavlos (University of Western Australia) and Prof M Helfrich (University of Aberdeen) for critical reading of the manuscript. Dr Coxon acknowledges grant support from Arthritis Research UK (grant number 19379).