Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β)-activated kinase 1 (TAK1), a mitogen-activated protein 3 (MAP3) kinase, plays an essential role in inflammation by activating the IκB kinase (IKK)/nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) and stress kinase (p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase [JNK]) pathways in response to many stimuli. The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) superfamily member receptor activator of NF-κB ligand (RANKL) regulates osteoclastogenesis through its receptor, RANK, and the signaling adaptor TRAF6. Because TAK1 activation is mediated through TRAF6 in the interleukin 1 receptor (IL-1R) and toll-like receptor (TLR) pathways, we sought to investigate the consequence of TAK1 deletion in RANKL-mediated osteoclastogenesis. We generated macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF)-derived monocytes from the bone marrow of mice with TAK1 deletion in the myeloid lineage. Unexpectedly, TAK1-deficient monocytes in culture died rapidly but could be rescued by retroviral expression of TAK1, inhibition of receptor-interacting protein 1 (RIP1) kinase activity with necrostatin-1, or simultaneous genetic deletion of TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1). Further investigation using TAK1-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts revealed that TNF-α-induced cell death was abrogated by the simultaneous inhibition of caspases and knockdown of RIP3, suggesting that TAK1 is an important modulator of both apoptosis and necroptosis. Moreover, TAK1-deficient monocytes rescued from programmed cell death did not form mature osteoclasts in response to RANKL, indicating that TAK1 is indispensable to RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis. To our knowledge, we are the first to report that mice in which TAK1 has been conditionally deleted in osteoclasts develop osteopetrosis. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology.