Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are a group of signaling molecules that belongs to the Transforming Growth Factor-? (TGF-?) superfamily of proteins. Initially discovered for their ability to induce bone formation, BMPs are now known to play crucial roles in all organ systems. BMPs are important in embryogenesis and development, and also in maintenance of adult tissue homeostasis. Mouse knockout models of various components of the BMP signaling pathway result in embryonic lethality or marked defects, highlighting the essential functions of BMPs. In this review, we first outline the basic aspects of BMP signaling and then focus on genetically manipulated mouse knockout models that have helped elucidate the role of BMPs in development. A significant portion of this review is devoted to the prominent human pathologies associated with dysregulated BMP signaling.
Liver is a vital organ and retains its regeneration capability throughout adulthood, which requires contributions from different cell populations, including liver precursors and intrahepatic stem cells. To overcome the mortality of hepatic progenitors (iHPs) in vitro, we aim to establish reversibly immortalized hepatic progenitor cells from mouse embryonic liver.
Ewing's sarcoma of bone is a primary bone sarcoma found predominantly in patients during their second decade of life. It is a high-grade aggressive small round blue cell tumor that is part of the Ewing's family of tumors. Its exact eitiology is unknown but it commonly demonstrates reproducible staining of CD99 and translocations of the EWS gene. Historically, this diagnosis was associated with near certain metastasis and subsequent mortality. However, current management consists of extensive chemotherapy in addition to local control with surgical resection and/or radiation. As a result, survival has improved to the 55-75% range in those patients who present without known metastases. Current research aims to continue this improvement by looking further into the associated gene abnormalities and possibly targeted therapies.
Cartilage tissue engineering holds great promise for treating cartilaginous pathologies including degenerative disorders and traumatic injuries. Effective cartilage regeneration requires an optimal combination of biomaterial scaffolds, chondrogenic seed cells and biofactors. Obtaining sufficient chondrocytes remains a major challenge due to the limited proliferative capability of primary chondrocytes. Here, we investigate if reversibly immortalized mouse articular chondrocytes (iMACs) acquire long-term proliferative capability while retaining the chondrogenic phenotype. Primary mouse articular chondrocytes (MACs) can be efficiently immortalized with a retroviral vector expressing SV40 large T antigen flanked with Cre/loxP sites. iMACs exhibit long-term proliferation in culture, although the immortalization phenotype can be reversed by Cre recombinase. iMACs express the chondrocyte markers Col2a1 and aggrecan and produce chondroid matrix in micromass culture. iMACs form subcutaneous cartilaginous masses in athymic mice. Histologic analysis and chondroid matrix staining demonstrate that iMACs can survive, proliferate and produce chondroid matrix. The chondrogenic growth factor BMP2 promotes iMACs to produce more mature chondroid matrix resembling mature articular cartilage. Taken together, our results demonstrate that iMACs acquire long-term proliferative capability without losing the intrinsic chondrogenic features of MACs. Thus, iMACs provide a valuable cellular platform to optimize biomaterial scaffolds for cartilage regeneration, to identify biofactors that promote the proliferation and differentiation of chondrogenic progenitors and to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying chondrogenesis.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most deadly cancers worldwide. Significant progress has been made in understanding the molecular pathogenesis of CRC, which has led to successful early diagnosis, surgical intervention and combination chemotherapy. However, limited therapeutic options are available for metastatic and/or drug-resistant CRC. While the aberrantly activated Wnt/?-catenin pathway plays a critical initiating role in CRC development, disruption of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway causes juvenile polyposis syndrome, suggesting that BMP signaling may play a role in CRC development. However, conflicting results have been reported concerning the possible roles of BMP signaling in sporadic colon cancer. Here, we investigated the effect of BMP2 on the proliferation, migration, invasiveness and tumor growth capability of human CRC cells. Using an adenovirus vector that overexpresses BMP2 and the piggyBac transposon-mediated stable BMP2 overexpression CRC line, we found that exogenous BMP2 effectively inhibited HCT116 cell proliferation and colony formation. BMP2 was shown to suppress colon cancer cell migration and invasiveness. Under a low serum culture condition, forced expression of BMP2 induced a significantly increased level of apoptosis in HCT116 cells. Using a xenograft tumor model, we found that forced expression of BMP2 in HCT116 cells suppressed tumor growth, accompanied by decreased cell proliferation activity. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that BMP2 plays an important inhibitory role in governing the proliferation and aggressive features of human CRC cells.
Dental pulp/dentin regeneration using dental stem cells combined with odontogenic factors may offer great promise to treat and/or prevent premature tooth loss. We previously demonstrated that bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9) is one of the most potent factors in inducing bone formation. Here, we investigate whether BMP9 can effectively induce odontogenic differentiation of the stem cells from mouse apical papilla (SCAPs). Using a reversible immortalization system expressing SV40 T flanked with Cre/loxP sites, we demonstrate that the SCAPs can be immortalized, resulting in immortalized SCAPs (iSCAPs) that express mesenchymal stem cell markers. BMP9 upregulates Runx2, Sox9, and PPAR?2 and odontoblastic markers, and induces alkaline phosphatase activity and matrix mineralization in the iSCAPs. Cre-mediated removal of SV40 T antigen decreases iSCAP proliferation. The in vivo stem cell implantation studies indicate that iSCAPs can differentiate into bone, cartilage, and, to lesser extent, adipocytes upon BMP9 stimulation. Our results demonstrate that the conditionally iSCAPs not only maintain long-term cell proliferation but also retain the ability to differentiate into multiple lineages, including osteo/odontoblastic differentiation. Thus, the reversibly iSCAPs may serve as an important tool to study SCAP biology and SCAP translational use in tooth engineering. Further, BMP9 may be explored as a novel and efficacious factor for odontogenic regeneration.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary malignancy of bone and is usually associated with poor prognosis due to its high incidence of metastasis and chemoresistance. Molecular pathogenesis of OS is poorly understood. We previously showed that OS cells are refractory to BMP9-induced osteogenesis and respond favorably to proliferation and tumor growth. Here we investigate if Notch signaling mediates the BMP9-promoted cell proliferation and tumor growth of human osteosarcoma (OS). We find that the expression of Notch1, Notch2, Notch3, DLL1, JAG1 and JAG2 is readily detected in most of the tested OS cell lines. BMP9-promoted OS cell proliferation, migration, and cell cycle S/G2 progression are effectively inhibited by a dominant-negative mutant of Notch1 (dnNotch1) or the ?-secretase inhibitor Compound E (ComE). Furthermore, BMP9-promoted tumor growth and osteolytic lesions in vivo are significantly inhibited by dnNotch1. BMP9 up-regulates the expression of Notch1, Notch3, DLL1, and JAG1 in OS cells. Accordingly, BMP9 stimulation induces a nuclear accumulation of NICD, which is blocked by ComE. Our results demonstrate that BMP9-promoted OS proliferation and tumor growth is at least in part mediated by Notch signaling, suggesting that osteogenic BMPs may function as upstream regulators of Notch signaling in OS tumorigenesis. Thus, pharmacologic intervention of Notch signaling may be explored as a new therapeutic strategy for human OS tumors.
RNA interference (RNAi) denotes sequence-specific mRNA degradation induced by short interfering double-stranded RNA (siRNA) and has become a revolutionary tool for functional annotation of mammalian genes, as well as for development of novel therapeutics. The practical applications of RNAi are usually achieved by expressing short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) or siRNAs in cells. However, a major technical challenge is to simultaneously express multiple siRNAs to silence one or more genes. We previously developed pSOS system, in which siRNA duplexes are made from oligo templates driven by opposing U6 and H1 promoters. While effective, it is not equipped to express multiple siRNAs in a single vector. Gibson DNA Assembly (GDA) is an in vitro recombination system that has the capacity to assemble multiple overlapping DNA molecules in a single isothermal step. Here, we developed a GDA-based pSOK assembly system for constructing single vectors that express multiple siRNA sites. The assembly fragments were generated by PCR amplifications from the U6-H1 template vector pB2B. GDA assembly specificity was conferred by the overlapping unique siRNA sequences of insert fragments. To prove the technical feasibility, we constructed pSOK vectors that contain four siRNA sites and three siRNA sites targeting human and mouse ?-catenin, respectively. The assembly reactions were efficient, and candidate clones were readily identified by PCR screening. Multiple ?-catenin siRNAs effectively silenced endogenous ?-catenin expression, inhibited Wnt3A-induced ?-catenin/Tcf4 reporter activity and expression of Wnt/?-catenin downstream genes. Silencing ?-catenin in mesenchymal stem cells inhibited Wnt3A-induced early osteogenic differentiation and significantly diminished synergistic osteogenic activity between BMP9 and Wnt3A in vitro and in vivo. These findings demonstrate that the GDA-based pSOK system has been proven simplistic, effective and versatile for simultaneous expression of multiple siRNAs. Thus, the reported pSOK system should be a valuable tool for gene function studies and development of novel therapeutics.
Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) are mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-like multipotent progenitor cells and can undergo self-renewal and differentiate into to multiple lineages, including bone, cartilage and adipose. Primary MEFs have limited life span in culture, which thus hampers MEFs' basic research and translational applications. To overcome this challenge, we investigate if piggyBac transposon-mediated expression of SV40 T antigen can effectively immortalize mouse MEFs and that the immortalized MEFs can maintain long-term cell proliferation without compromising their multipotency. Using the piggyBac vector MPH86 which expresses SV40 T antigen flanked with flippase (FLP) recognition target (FRT) sites, we demonstrate that mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) can be efficiently immortalized. The immortalized MEFs (piMEFs) exhibit an enhanced proliferative activity and maintain long-term cell proliferation, which can be reversed by FLP recombinase. The piMEFs express most MEF markers and retain multipotency as they can differentiate into osteogenic, chondrogenic and adipogenic lineages upon BMP9 stimulation in vitro. Stem cell implantation studies indicate that piMEFs can form bone, cartilage and adipose tissues upon BMP9 stimulation, whereas FLP-mediated removal of SV40 T antigen diminishes the ability of piMEFs to differentiate into these lineages, possibly due to the reduced expansion of progenitor populations. Our results demonstrate that piggyBac transposon-mediated expression of SV40 T can effectively immortalize MEFs and that the reversibly immortalized piMEFs not only maintain long-term cell proliferation but also retain their multipotency. Thus, the high transposition efficiency and the potential footprint-free natures may render piggyBac transposition an effective and safe strategy to immortalize progenitor cells isolated from limited tissue supplies, which is essential for basic and translational studies.
Multipotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can undergo self-renewal and give rise to multi-lineages under given differentiation cues. It is frequently desirable to achieve a stable and high level of transgene expression in MSCs in order to elucidate possible molecular mechanisms through which MSC self-renewal and lineage commitment are regulated. Retroviral or lentiviral vector-mediated gene expression in MSCs usually decreases over time. Here, we choose to use the piggyBac transposon system and conduct a systematic comparison of six commonly-used constitutive promoters for their abilities to drive RFP or firefly luciferase expression in somatic HEK-293 cells and MSC iMEF cells. The analyzed promoters include three viral promoters (CMV, CMV-IVS, and SV40), one housekeeping gene promoter (UbC), and two composite promoters of viral and housekeeping gene promoters (hEFH and CAG-hEFH). CMV-derived promoters are shown to drive the highest transgene expression in HEK-293 cells, which is however significantly reduced in MSCs. Conversely, the composite promoter hEFH exhibits the highest transgene expression in MSCs whereas its promoter activity is modest in HEK-293 cells. The reduced transgene expression driven by CMV promoters in MSCs may be at least in part caused by DNA methylation, or to a lesser extent histone deacetlyation. However, the hEFH promoter is not significantly affected by these epigenetic modifications. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the hEFH composite promoter may be an ideal promoter to drive long-term and high level transgene expression using the piggyBac transposon vector in progenitor cells such as MSCs.
Three-dimensional organoids have been recently established from various tissue-specific progenitors (such as intestinal stem cells), induced pluripotent stem cells, or embryonic stem cells. These cultured self-sustaining stem cell-based organoids may become valuable systems to study the roles of tissue-specific stem cells in tissue genesis and disease development. It is thus conceivable that effective genetic manipulations in such organoids may allow us to reconstruct disease processes and/or develop novel therapeutics. Recombinant adenoviruses are one of the most commonly used viral vectors for in vitro and in vivo gene deliveries. In this study, we investigate if adenoviruses can be used to effectively deliver transgenes into the cultured "mini-gut" organoids derived from intestinal stem cells. Using adenoviral vectors that express fluorescent proteins, we demonstrate that adenoviruses can effectively deliver transgenes into the cultured 3-D "mini-gut" organoids. The transgene expression can last at least 10 days in the cultured organoids. As a proof-of-principle experiment, we demonstrate that adenovirus-mediated noggin expression effectively support the survival and self-renewal of mini-gut organoids, while adenovirus-mediated expression of BMP4 inhibits the self-sustainability and proliferation of the organoids. Thus, our results strongly suggest that adenovirus vectors can be explored as effective gene delivery vehicles to introduce genetic manipulations in 3-D organoids.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitors, which can undergo self-renewal and give rise to multi-lineages. A great deal of attentions have been paid to their potential use in regenerative medicine as potential therapeutic genes can be introduced into MSCs. Genetic manipulations in MSCs requires effective gene deliveries. Recombinant adenoviruses are widely used gene transfer vectors. We have found that although MSCs can be infected in vitro by adenoviruses, high virus titers are needed to achieve high efficiency. Here, we investigate if the commonly-used cationic polymer Polybrene can potentiate adenovirus-mediated transgene delivery into MSCs, such as C2C12 cells and iMEFs. Using the AdRFP adenovirus, we find that AdRFP transduction efficiency is significantly increased by Polybrene in a dose-dependent fashion peaking at 8 ?g/ml in C2C12 and iMEFs cells. Quantitative luciferase assay reveals that Polybrene significantly enhances AdFLuc-mediated luciferase activity in C2C12 and iMEFs at as low as 4 ?g/ml and 2 ?g/ml, respectively. FACS analysis indicates that Polybrene (at 4 ?g/ml) increases the percentage of RFP-positive cells by approximately 430 folds in AdRFP-transduced iMEFs, suggesting Polybrene may increase adenovirus infection efficiency. Furthermore, Polybrene can enhance AdBMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation of MSCs as early osteogenic marker alkaline phosphatase activity can be increased more than 73 folds by Polybrene (4 ?g/ml) in AdBMP9-transduced iMEFs. No cytotoxicity was observed in C2C12 and iMEFs at Polybrene up to 40 ?g/ml, which is about 10-fold higher than the effective concentration required to enhance adenovirus transduction in MSCs. Taken together, our results demonstrate that Polybrene should be routinely used as a safe, effective and inexpensive augmenting agent for adenovirus-mediated gene transfer in MSCs, as well as other types of mammalian cells.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary bone malignancy in children and young adults. Molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of OS remain to be fully understood. Several members of the E-F hand calcium-binding S100 protein family are differentially expressed in human cancers. We previously showed that S100A6 is highly expressed in OS tumors. In this study, we investigated the role of S100A4 in regulating OS proliferation and osteogenic differentiation.
Successful bone tissue engineering at least requires sufficient osteoblast progenitors, efficient osteoinductive factors, and biocompatible scaffolding materials. We have demonstrated that BMP9 is one of the most potent factors in inducing osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal progenitors. To facilitate the potential use of cell-based BMP9 gene therapy for bone regeneration, we characterize the in vivo osteoconductive activities and bone regeneration potential of three clinically-used scaffold materials, type I collagen sponge, hydroxyapatite-tricalcium phosphate (HA-TCP) and demineralized bone matrix (DBM), using BMP9-expressing C2C12 osteoblastic progenitor cells. We find that recombinant adenovirus-mediated BMP9 expression effectively induces osteogenic differentiation in C2C12 cells. Although direct subcutaneous injection of BMP9-transduced C2C12 cells forms ectopic bony masses, subcutaneous implantation of BMP9-expressing C2C12 cells with collagen sponge or HA-TCP scaffold yields the most robust and mature cancellous bone formation, whereas the DBM carrier group forms no or minimal bone masses. Our results suggest that collagen sponge and HA-TCP scaffold carriers may provide more cell-friendly environment to support the survival, propagation, and ultimately differentiation of BMP9-expressing progenitor cells. This line of investigation should provide important experimental evidence for further pre-clinical studies in BMP9-mediated cell based approach to bone tissue engineering.
We have demonstrated that bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9) is one of the most potent BMPs in regulating osteoblast differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) although the molecular mechanism underlying BMP9-induced osteogenesis remains to be fully elucidated. It is known that epigenetic regulations play an important role in regulating the stem cell potency and lineage commitment. Here, we investigate if the inhibition of histone deacetylases (Hdacs) affects BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation of MSCs.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitors and can differentiate into osteogenic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic lineages. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play important roles in stem cell proliferation and differentiation. We recently demonstrated that BMP9 is a potent but less understood osteogenic factor. We previously found that BMP9-induced ectopic bone formation is not inhibited by BMP3. Here, we investigate the effect of BMP antagonist noggin on BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation. BMP antagonists noggin, chording, gremlin, follistatin, and BMP3 are highly expressed in MSCs, while noggin and follistatin are lowly expressed in more differentiated pre-osteoblast C2C12 cells. BMP9-induced osteogenic markers and matrix mineralization are not inhibited by noggin, while noggin blunts BMP2, BMP4, BMP6, and BMP7-induced osteogenic markers and mineralization. Likewise, ectopic bone formation by MSCs transduced with BMP9, but not the other four BMPs, is resistant to noggin inhibition. BMP9-induced nuclear translocation of Smad1/5/8 is not affected by noggin, while noggin blocks BMP2-induced activation of Smad1/5/8 in MSCs. Noggin fails to inhibit BMP9-induced expression of downstream targets in MSCs. Thus, our results strongly suggest that BMP9 may effectively overcome noggin inhibition, which should at least in part contribute to BMP9s potent osteogenic capability in MSCs.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitors, which give rise to several lineages, including bone, cartilage and fat. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulates cell growth, proliferation and differentiation. EGF acts by binding with high affinity to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on the cell surface and stimulating the intrinsic protein tyrosine kinase activity of its receptor, which initiates a signal transduction cascade causing a variety of biochemical changes within the cell and regulating cell proliferation and differentiation. We have identified BMP9 as one of the most osteogenic BMPs in MSCs. In this study, we investigate if EGF signalling cross-talks with BMP9 and regulates BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation. We find that EGF potentiates BMP9-induced early and late osteogenic markers of MSCs in vitro, which can be effectively blunted by EGFR inhibitors Gefitinib and Erlotinib or receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors AG-1478 and AG-494 in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Furthermore, EGF significantly augments BMP9-induced bone formation in the cultured mouse foetal limb explants. In vivo stem cell implantation experiment reveals that exogenous expression of EGF in MSCs can effectively potentiate BMP9-induced ectopic bone formation, yielding larger and more mature bone masses. Interestingly, we find that, while EGF can induce BMP9 expression in MSCs, EGFR expression is directly up-regulated by BMP9 through Smad1/5/8 signalling pathway. Thus, the cross-talk between EGF and BMP9 signalling pathways in MSCs may underline their important roles in regulating osteogenic differentiation. Harnessing the synergy between BMP9 and EGF should be beneficial for enhancing osteogenesis in regenerative medicine.
The Wnt signaling pathway plays an important role not only in embryonic development but also in the maintenance and differentiation of the stem cells in adulthood. In particular, Wnt signaling has been shown as an important regulatory pathway in the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells. Induction of the Wnt signaling pathway promotes bone formation while inactivation of the pathway leads to osteopenic states. Our current understanding of Wnt signaling in osteogenesis elucidates the molecular mechanisms of classic osteogenic pathologies. Activating and inactivating aberrations of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway in osteogenesis results in sclerosteosis and osteoporosis respectively. Recent studies have sought to target the Wnt signaling pathway to treat osteogenic disorders. Potential therapeutic approaches attempt to stimulate the Wnt signaling pathway by upregulating the intracellular mediators of the Wnt signaling cascade and inhibiting the endogenous antagonists of the pathway. Antibodies against endogenous antagonists, such as sclerostin and dickkopf-1, have demonstrated promising results in promoting bone formation and fracture healing. Lithium, an inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase 3?, has also been reported to stimulate osteogenesis by stabilizing ? catenin. Although manipulating the Wnt signaling pathway has abundant therapeutic potential, it requires cautious approach due to risks of tumorigenesis. The present review discusses the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in osteogenesis and examines its targeted therapeutic potential.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common primary malignancy of bone. We investigated the roles of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 5 (IGFBP5) domains in modulating OS tumorigenicity and metastasis. The N-terminal (to a lesser extent the C-terminal) domain inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis while the C-terminal domain inhibited cell migration and invasion. The Linker domain had no independent effects. In vivo, the N-terminal domain decreased tumor growth without affecting pulmonary metastases while the C-terminal domain inhibited tumor growth and metastases. In summary, the N- and C-terminal domains modulated OS tumorigenic phenotypes while the C-terminal domain inhibited OS metastatic phenotypes.
Articular cartilage lesions in the knee are common injuries. Chondrocyte transplant represents a promising therapeutic modality for articular cartilage injuries. Here, we characterize the viability and transgene expression of articular chondrocytes cultured in three-dimensional scaffolds provided by four types of carriers. Articular chondrocytes are isolated from rabbit knees and cultured in four types of scaffolds: type I collagen sponge, fibrin glue, hyaluronan, and open-cell polylactic acid (OPLA). The cultured cells are transduced with adenovirus expressing green fluorescence protein (AdGFP) and luciferase (AdGL3-Luc). The viability and gene expression in the chondrocytes are determined with fluorescence microscopy and luciferase assay. Cartilage matrix production is assessed by Alcian blue staining. Rabbit articular chondrocytes are effectively infected by AdGFP and exhibited sustained GFP expression. All tested scaffolds support the survival and gene expression of the infected chondrocytes. However, the highest transgene expression is observed in the OPLA carrier. At 4 weeks, Alcian blue-positive matrix materials are readily detected in OPLA cultures. Thus, our results indicate that, while all tested carriers can support the survival of chondrocytes, OPLA supports the highest transgene expression and is the most conductive scaffold for matrix production, suggesting that OPLA may be a suitable scaffold for cell-based gene therapy of articular cartilage repairs.
Osteogenic differentiation from mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) are initiated and regulated by a cascade of signaling events. Either Wnt/?-catenin or estrogen signaling pathway has been shown to play an important role in regulating skeletal development and maintaining adult tissue homeostasis. Here, we investigate the potential crosstalk and synergy of these two signaling pathways in regulating osteogenic differentiation of MPCs. We find that the activation of estrogen receptor (ER) signaling by estradiol (E2) or exogenously expressed ER? in MPCs synergistically enhances Wnt3A-induced early and late osteogenic markers, as well as matrix mineralization. The E2 or ER?-mediated synergy can be effectively blocked by ER? antagonist tamoxifen. E2 stimulation can enhance endochondral ossification of Wnt3A-transduced mouse fetal limb explants. Furthermore, exogenously expressed ER? significantly enhances the maturity and mineralization of Wnt3A-induced subcutaneous and intramuscular ectopic bone formation. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that E2 does not exert any detectable effect on ?-catenin/Tcf reporter activity. However, ER? expression is up-regulated within the first 48h in AdWnt3A-transduced MPCs, whereas ER? expression is significantly inhibited within 24h. Moreover, the key enzyme for the biosynthesis of estrogens aromatase is modulated by Wnt3A in a biphasic manner, up-regulated at 24h but reduced after 48h. Our results demonstrate that, while ER signaling acts synergistically with Wnt3A in promoting osteogenic differentiation, Wnt3A may crosstalk with ER signaling by up-regulating ER? expression and down-regulating ER? expression in MPCs. Thus, the signaling crosstalk and synergy between these two pathways should be further explored as a potential therapeutic approach to combating bone and skeletal disorders, such as fracture healing and osteoporosis.
Aberrant activation of ?-catenin signaling plays an important role in human tumorigenesis. However, molecular mechanisms behind the ?-catenin signaling deregulation are mostly unknown because genetic alterations in this pathway only account for a small fraction of tumors. Here, we investigator if other major pathways can regulate ?-catenin signaling activity. By employing a panel of chemical activators and/or inhibitors of several cellular signaling pathways, we assess these modulators effects on luciferase reporter driven by ?-catenin/TCF4-responsive elements. We find that lithium-stimulated ?-catenin activity is synergistically enhanced by protein kinase C activator PMA. However, ?-catenin-regulated transcriptional (CRT) activity is significantly inhibited by casein kinase II inhibitor DRB, MEK inhibitor PD98059, G-proteins and their receptor uncoupling agent suramin, protein tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein, and PI-3 kinase inhibitor wortmannin, suggesting that these cellular pathways may participate in regulating ?-catenin signaling. Interestingly, the Ca(++)/calmodulin kinase II inhibitor HDBA is shown to activate ?-catenin activity at low doses. Furthermore, Wnt3A-stimulated and constitutively activated CRT activities, as well as the intracellular accumulation of ?-catenin protein in human colon cancer cells, are effectively suppressed by PD98059, genistein, and wortmannin. We further demonstrate that EGF can activate TCF4/?-catenin activity and induce the tyrosine phosphorylation of ?-catenin protein. Thus, our results should provide important insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying Wnt/?-catenin activation. This knowledge should facilitate our efforts to develop efficacious and novel therapeutics by targeting these pathways.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitors that can undergo osteogenic differentiation under proper stimuli. We demonstrated that BMP9 is one of the most osteogenic BMPs. However, the molecular mechanism underlying BMP9-initiated osteogenic signaling in MSCs remains unclear. Through gene expression profiling analysis we identified several candidate mediators of BMP9 osteogenic signaling. Here, we focus on one such signaling mediator and investigate the functional role of cysteine-rich with EGF-like domains 2 (Creld2) in BMP9-initiated osteogenic signaling. Creld2 was originally identified as an ER stress-inducible factor localized in the ER-Golgi apparatus. Our genomewide expression profiling analysis indicates that Creld2 is among the top up-regulated genes in BMP9-stimulated MSCs. We confirm that Creld2 is up-regulated by BMP9 in MSCs. ChIP analysis indicates that Smad1/5/8 directly binds to the Creld2 promoter in a BMP9-dependent fashion. Exogenous expression of Creld2 in MSCs potentiates BMP9-induced early and late osteogenic markers, and matrix mineralization. Conversely, silencing Creld2 expression inhibits BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation. In vivo stem cell implantation assay reveals that exogenous Creld2 promotes BMP9-induced ectopic bone formation and matrix mineralization, whereas silencing Creld2 expression diminishes BMP9-induced bone formation and matrix mineralization. We further show that Creld2 is localized in ER and the ER stress inducers potentiate BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation. Our results strongly suggest that Creld2 may be directly regulated by BMP9 and ER stress response may play an important role in regulating osteogenic differentiation.
Progenitor cell-based cardiomyocyte regeneration holds great promise of repairing an injured heart. Although cardiomyogenic differentiation has been reported for a variety of progenitor cell types, the biological factors that regulate effective cardiomyogenesis remain largely undefined. Primary cardiomyogenic progenitors (CPs) have a limited life span in culture, hampering the CPs in vitro and in vivo studies. The objective of this study is to investigate if primary CPs isolated from fetal mouse heart can be reversibly immortalized with SV40 large T and maintain long-term cell proliferation without compromising cardiomyogenic differentiation potential.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are members of the TGF-? superfamily and play a critical role in skeletal development, bone formation and stem cell differentiation. Disruptions in BMP signaling result in a variety of skeletal and extraskeletal anomalies. BMP9 is a poorly characterized member of the BMP family and is among the most osteogenic BMPs, promoting osteoblastic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) both in vitro and in vivo. Recent findings from various in vivo and molecular studies strongly suggest that the mechanisms governing BMP9-mediated osteoinduction differ from other osteogenic BMPs. Many signaling pathways with diverse functions have been found to play a role in BMP9-mediated osteogenesis. Several of these pathways are also critical in the differentiation of other cell lineages, including adipocytes and chondrocytes. While BMP9 is known to be a potent osteogenic factor, it also influences several other pathways including cancer development, angiogenesis and myogenesis. Although BMP9 has been demonstrated as one of the most osteogenic BMPs, relatively little is known about the specific mechanisms responsible for these effects. BMP9 has demonstrated efficacy in promoting spinal fusion and bony non-union repair in animal models, demonstrating great translational promise. This review aims to summarize our current knowledge of BMP9-mediated osteogenesis by presenting recently completed work which may help us to further elucidate these pathways.
Soft tissue tumors range from benign subcutaneous lipomas to malignant deep high-grade sarcomas. Patients are evaluated with a thorough history and physical examination followed by imaging studies. Magnetic resonance imaging is the modality of choice, although radiographs, computed tomography, and other modalities may be of value. Open or closed biopsy can be performed to establish a diagnosis. Treatment depends on the diagnosis and includes observation or marginal excision for benign lesions and wide resection for malignant masses, with radiation therapy or chemotherapy for large, high-grade tumors. An algorithm for the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of soft tissue tumors is presented.
The Wnt pathway plays a critical role in development and differentiation of many tissues, such as the gut, hair follicles, and bone. Increasing evidence indicates that Wnts may function as key regulators in osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells and bone formation. Conversely, aberrant Wnt signaling is associated with many osteogenic pathologies. For example, genetic alterations in the Wnt signaling pathway lead to osteoporosis and osteopenia, while inactivating mutations of Wnt inhibitors result in a hyperostotic skeleton with increased bone mineral density. Hyperparathyroidism causes osteopenia via induction of the Wnt signaling pathway. Lithium, often used to treat bipolar disorder, blocks a Wnt antagonist, decreasing the patients risk of fractures. Thus, manipulating the Wnt pathway may offer plenty therapeutic opportunities in treating bone disorders. In fact, induction of the Wnt signaling pathway or inhibition of Wnt antagonists has shown promise in treating bone metabolic disorders, including osteoporosis. For example, antibodies targeting the Wnt inhibitor Sclerostin lead to increased bone mineral density in post-menopausal women. However, such therapies targeting the Wnt pathway are not without risk, as genetic alternations may lead to over-activation of Wnt/?-catenin and its association with many tumors. It is conceivable that targeting Wnt inhibitors may predispose the individuals to tumorigenic phenotypes, at least in bone. Here, we review the roles of Wnt signaling in bone metabolic and pathologic processes, as well as the therapeutic potential for targeting Wnt pathway and its associated risks in bone diseases.
Stem cells are characterized by their capability to self-renew and terminally differentiate into multiple cell types. Somatic or adult stem cells have a finite self-renewal capacity and are lineage-restricted. The use of adult stem cells for therapeutic purposes has been a topic of recent interest given the ethical considerations associated with embryonic stem (ES) cells. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are adult stem cells that can differentiate into osteogenic, adipogenic, chondrogenic, or myogenic lineages. Owing to their ease of isolation and unique characteristics, MSCs have been widely regarded as potential candidates for tissue engineering and repair. While various signaling molecules important to MSC differentiation have been identified, our complete understanding of this process is lacking. Recent investigations focused on the role of epigenetic regulation in lineage-specific differentiation of MSCs have shown that unique patterns of DNA methylation and histone modifications play an important role in the induction of MSC differentiation toward specific lineages. Nevertheless, MSC epigenetic profiles reflect a more restricted differentiation potential as compared to ES cells. Here we review the effect of epigenetic modifications on MSC multipotency and differentiation, with a focus on osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation. We also highlight clinical applications of MSC epigenetics and nuclear reprogramming.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is associated with poor prognosis due to its high incidence of metastasis and chemoresistance. It often arises in areas of rapid bone growth in long bones during the adolescent growth spurt. Although certain genetic conditions and alterations increase the risk of developing OS, the molecular pathogenesis is poorly understood. Recently, defects in differentiation have been linked to cancers, as they are associated with high cell proliferation. Treatments overcoming these defects enable terminal differentiation and subsequent tumor inhibition. OS development may be associated with defects in osteogenic differentiation. While early regulators of osteogenesis are unable to bypass these defects, late osteogenic regulators, including Runx2 and Osterix, are able to overcome some of the defects and inhibit tumor propagation through promoting osteogenic differentiation. Further understanding of the relationship between defects in osteogenic differentiation and tumor development holds tremendous potential in treating OS.
Promoting osteogenic differentiation and efficacious bone regeneration have the potential to revolutionize the treatment of orthopaedic and musculoskeletal disorders. Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are bone marrow progenitor cells that have the capacity to differentiate along osteogenic, chondrogenic, myogenic, and adipogenic lineages. Differentiation along these lineages is a tightly controlled process that is in part regulated by the Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs). BMPs 2 and 7 have been approved for clinical use because their osteoinductive properties act as an adjunctive treatment to surgeries where bone healing is compromised. BMP-9 is one of the least studied BMPs, and recent in vitro and in vivo studies have identified BMP-9 as a potent inducer of osteogenic differentiation in MSCs. BMP-9 exhibits significant molecular cross-talk with the Wnt/ ?-catenin and other signaling pathways, and adenoviral expression of BMP-9 in MSCs increases the expression of osteogenic markers and induces trabecular bone and osteiod matrix formation. Furthermore, BMP-9 has been shown to act synergistically in bone formation with other signaling pathways, including Wnt/ ?-catenin, IGF, and retinoid signaling pathways. These results suggest that BMP-9 should be explored as an effective bone regeneration agent, especially in combination with adjuvant therapies, for clinical applications such as large segmental bony defects, non-union fractures, and/or spinal fusions.
As one of the most common malignancies, colon cancer is initiated by abnormal activation of the Wnt/?-catenin pathway. Although the treatment options have increased for some patients, overall progress has been modest. Thus, there is a great need to develop new treatments. We have found that bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid tetrandrine (TET) exhibits anticancer activity. TET is used as a calcium channel blocker to treat hypertensive and arrhythmic conditions in Chinese medicine. Here, we investigate the molecular basis underlying TETs anticancer activity. We compare TET with six chemotherapy drugs in eight cancer lines and find that TET exhibits comparable anticancer activities with camptothecin, vincristine, paclitaxel, and doxorubicin, and better than that of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and carboplatin. TET IC?? is ?5 ?M in most of the tested cancer lines. TET exhibits synergistic anticancer activity with 5-FU and reduces migration and invasion capabilities of HCT116 cells. Furthermore, TET induces apoptosis and inhibits xenograft tumor growth of colon cancer. TET treatment leads to a decrease in ?-catenin protein level in xenograft tumors, which is confirmed by T-cell factor/lymphocyte enhancer factor and c-Myc reporter assays. It is noteworthy that HCT116 cells with allelic oncogenic ?-catenin deleted are less sensitive to TET-mediated inhibition of proliferation, viability, and xenograft tumor growth. Thus, our findings strongly suggest that the anticancer effect of TET in colon cancer may be at least in part mediated by targeting ?-catenin activity. Therefore, TET may be used alone or in combination as an effective anticancer agent.
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the most common and deadly malignancies in the world. Most CRCs are initiated by aberrant activation of the Wnt/ß-catenin signaling pathway. Despite the advances in its early diagnosis, optimized surgical approaches, and chemotherapies, the clinical management of advanced CRC requires effective adjuvant agents. Ginsenoside Rg3 is a single compound isolated from American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L., Araliaceae) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer). We investigated the anticancer activity of Rg3 on colon cancer cells and its potential molecular mechanism behind Rg3s anticancer activity. We found that Rg3 inhibits cell proliferation and viability of cancer cells in vitro. This inhibitory effect of Rg3 is, at least in part, mediated by blocking nuclear translocation of the ß-catenin protein and hence inhibiting ß-catenin/Tcf transcriptional activity. Allelic deletion of the oncogenic ß-catenin in HCT116 cells renders the cells more sensitive to Rg3-induced growth inhibition. Using the xenograft tumor model of human colon cancer, we have demonstrated that Rg3 effectively inhibits the growth of tumors derived from the human colon cancer cell line HCT116. Histologic examination revealed that Rg3 inhibits cancer cell proliferation, decreases PNCA expression and diminishes nuclear staining intensity of ß-catenin. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that the anticancer activity of Rg3 may be in part caused by blocking the nuclear translocation of ß-catenin in colon cancer cells. This line of investigation may lead to the development of novel therapies in which Rg3 can be used as an effective adjuvant agent for the clinical management of colorectal cancers.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignancy of bone with poorly characterized molecular pathways important in its pathogenesis. Increasing evidence indicates that elevated lipid biosynthesis is a characteristic feature of cancer. We sought to investigate the role of lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase ? (LPAAT?, aka, AGPAT2) in regulating the proliferation and growth of human osteosarcoma cells. LPAAT? can generate phosphatidic acid, which plays a key role in lipid biosynthesis as well as in cell proliferation and survival. Although elevated expression of LPAAT? has been reported in several types of human tumors, the role of LPAAT? in osteosarcoma progression has yet to be elucidated.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are bone marrow stromal cells that can differentiate into multiple lineages. We previously demonstrated that BMP9 is one of the most potent BMPs to induce osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. BMP9 is one of the least studied BMPs. Whereas ALK1, ALK5, and/or endoglin have recently been reported as potential BMP9 type I receptors in endothelial cells, little is known about type I receptor involvement in BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation in MSCs. Here, we conduct a comprehensive analysis of the functional role of seven type I receptors in BMP9-induced osteogenic signaling in MSCs. We have found that most of the seven type I receptors are expressed in MSCs. However, using dominant-negative mutants for the seven type I receptors, we demonstrate that only ALK1 and ALK2 mutants effectively inhibit BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation in vitro and ectopic ossification in MSC implantation assays. Protein fragment complementation assays demonstrate that ALK1 and ALK2 directly interact with BMP9. Likewise, RNAi silencing of ALK1 and ALK2 expression inhibits BMP9-induced BMPR-Smad activity and osteogenic differentiation in MSCs both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, our results strongly suggest that ALK1 and ALK2 may play an important role in mediating BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation. These findings should further aid us in understanding the molecular mechanism through which BMP9 regulates osteogenic differentiation of MSCs.
Efficient osteogenic differentiation and bone formation from mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) should have clinical applications in treating nonunion fracture healing. MSCs are adherent bone marrow stromal cells that can self-renew and differentiate into osteogenic, chondrogenic, adipogenic, and myogenic lineages. We have identified bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP-9) as one of the most osteogenic BMPs. Here we investigate the effect of insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF-2) on BMP-9-induced bone formation. We have found that endogenous IGF-2 expression is low in MSCs. Expression of IGF-2 can potentiate BMP-9-induced early osteogenic marker alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and the expression of later markers. IGF-2 has been shown to augment BMP-9-induced ectopic bone formation in the stem cell implantation assay. In perinatal limb explant culture assay, IGF-2 enhances BMP-9-induced endochondral ossification, whereas IGF-2 itself can promote the expansion of the hypertropic chondrocyte zone of the cultured limb explants. Expression of the IGF antagonists IGFBP3 and IGFBP4 leads to inhibition of the IGF-2 effect on BMP-9-induced ALP activity and matrix mineralization. Mechanistically, IGF-2 is further shown to enhance the BMP-9-induced BMPR-Smad reporter activity and Smad1/5/8 nuclear translocation. PI3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002 abolishes the IGF-2 potentiation effect on BMP-9-mediated osteogenic signaling and can directly inhibit BMP-9 activity. These results demonstrate that BMP-9 crosstalks with IGF-2 through PI3K/AKT signaling pathway during osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. Taken together, our findings suggest that a combination of BMP-9 and IGF-2 may be explored as an effective bone-regeneration agent to treat large segmental bony defects, nonunion fracture, and/or osteoporotic fracture.
Mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) are nonhematopoietic multipotent cells capable of differentiating into mesenchymal and nonmesenchymal lineages. While they can be isolated from various tissues, MPCs isolated from the bone marrow are best characterized. These cells represent a subset of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) which, in addition to their differentiation potential, are critical in supporting proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic cells. They are of clinical interest because they can be easily isolated from bone marrow aspirates and expanded in vitro with minimal donor site morbidity. The BMSCs are also capable of altering disease pathophysiology by secreting modulating factors in a paracrine manner. Thus, engineering such cells to maximize therapeutic potential has been the focus of cell/gene therapy to date. Here, we discuss the path towards the development of clinical trials utilizing BMSCs for orthopaedic applications. Specifically, we will review the use of BMSCs in repairing critical-sized defects, fracture nonunions, cartilage and tendon injuries, as well as in metabolic bone diseases and osteonecrosis. A review of www.ClinicalTrials.gov of the United States National Institute of Health was performed, and ongoing clinical trials will be discussed in addition to the sentinel preclinical studies that paved the way for human investigations.
As one of the least studied bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), BMP9 is one of the most osteogenic BMPs. Retinoic acid (RA) signaling is known to play an important role in development, differentiation and bone metabolism. In this study, we investigate the effect of RA signaling on BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs).
The CCN proteins contain six members, namely CCN1 to CCN6, which are small secreted cysteine-rich proteins. The CCN proteins are modular proteins, containing up to four functional domains. Many of the CCN members are induced by growth factors, cytokines, or cellular stress. The CCNs show a wide and highly variable expression pattern in adult and in embryonic tissues. The CCN proteins can integrate and modulate the signals of integrins, BMPs, VEGF, Wnts, and Notch. The involvement of integrins in mediating CCN signaling may provide diverse context-dependent responses in distinct cell types. CCN1 and CCN2 play an important role in development, angiogenesis and cell adhesion, whereas CCN3 is critical to skeletal and cardiac development. CCN4, CCN5 and CCN6 usually inhibit cell growth. Mutations of Ccn6 are associated with the progressive pseudorheumatoid dysplasia and spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia tarda. In stem cell differentiation, CCN1, CCN2, and CCN3 play a principal role in osteogenesis, chondrogenesis, and angiogenesis. Elevated expression of CCN1 is associated with more aggressive phenotypes of human cancer, while the roles of CCN2 and CCN3 in tumorigenesis are tumor type-dependent. CCN4, CCN5 and CCN6 function as tumor suppressors. Although CCN proteins may play important roles in fine-tuning other major signaling pathways, the precise function and mechanism of action of these proteins remain undefined. Understanding of the biological functions of the CCN proteins would not only provide insight into their roles in numerous cellular processes but also offer opportunities for developing therapeutics by targeting CCN functions.
Limb-salvage surgery has been used during the last several decades to treat patients with high-grade bone sarcomas. In the short- and intermediate-term these surgeries have been associated with relatively good function and low revision rates. However, long-term studies show a high rate of soft tissue, implant, and bone-related complications. Multiplanar osteotomy with limited wide margins uses angled bone cuts to resect bone tumors with the goal of complete tumor removal while sparing host tissue although its impact on local recurrence is not known.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignancy of bone. The long-term survival of osteosarcoma patients hinges on our ability to prevent and/or treat recurrent and metastatic lesions. Here, we investigated the activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) and retinoid receptors as a means of differentiation therapy for human osteosarcoma.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are non-hematopoietic stem cells with the capacity to differentiate into tissues of both mesenchymal and non-mesenchymal origin. MSCs can differentiate into osteoblastic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic lineages, although recent studies have demonstrated that MSCs are also able to differentiate into other lineages, including neuronal and cardiomyogenic lineages. Since their original isolation from the bone marrow, MSCs have been successfully harvested from many other tissues. Their ease of isolation and ex vivo expansion combined with their immunoprivileged nature has made these cells popular candidates for stem cell therapies. These cells have the potential to alter disease pathophysiology through many modalities including cytokine secretion, capacity to differentiate along various lineages, immune modulation and direct cell-cell interaction with diseased tissue. Here we first review basic features of MSC biology including MSC characteristics in culture, homing mechanisms, differentiation capabilities and immune modulation. We then highlight some in vivo and clinical evidence supporting the therapeutic roles of MSCs and their uses in orthopedic, autoimmune, and ischemic disorders.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is the most common nonhematologic malignancy of bone in children and adults. Although dysregulation of tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes, such as Rb, p53, and the genes critical to cell cycle control, genetic stability, and apoptosis have been identified in OS, consensus genetic changes that lead to OS development are poorly understood. Disruption of the osteogenic differentiation pathway may be at least in part responsible for OS tumorigenesis. Current OS management involves chemotherapy and surgery. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists and/or retinoids can inhibit OS proliferation and induce apoptosis and may inhibit OS growth by promoting osteoblastic terminal differentiation. Thus, safe and effective PPAR agonists and/or retinoid derivatives can be then used as adjuvant therapeutic drugs for OS therapy. Furthermore, these agents have the potential to be used as chemopreventive agents for the OS patients who undergo the resection of the primary bone tumors in order to prevent local recurrence and/or distal pulmonary metastasis.
Hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) can be isolated from fetal liver and extrahepatic tissues. Retinoic acid (RA) signalling plays an important role in development, although the role of RA signalling in liver-specific progenitors is poorly understood.
Pluripotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are bone marrow stromal progenitor cells that can differentiate into osteogenic, chondrogenic, adipogenic, and myogenic lineages. Several signaling pathways have been shown to regulate the lineage commitment and terminal differentiation of MSCs. Here, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of the 14 types of bone morphogenetic protein (BMPs) for their abilities to regulate multilineage specific differentiation of MSCs. We found that most BMPs exhibited distinct abilities to regulate the expression of Runx2, Sox9, MyoD, and PPARgamma2. Further analysis indicated that BMP-2, BMP-4, BMP-6, BMP-7, and BMP-9 effectively induced both adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation in vitro and in vivo. BMP-induced commitment to osteogenic or adipogenic lineage was shown to be mutually exclusive. Overexpression of Runx2 enhanced BMP-induced osteogenic differentiation, whereas knockdown of Runx2 expression diminished BMP-induced bone formation with a decrease in adipocyte accumulation in vivo. Interestingly, overexpression of PPARgamma2 not only promoted adipogenic differentiation, but also enhanced osteogenic differentiation upon BMP-2, BMP-6, and BMP-9 stimulation. Conversely, MSCs with PPARgamma2 knockdown or mouse embryonic fibroblasts derived from PPARgamma2(-/-) mice exhibited a marked decrease in adipogenic differentiation, coupled with reduced osteogenic differentiation and diminished mineralization upon BMP-9 stimulation, suggesting that PPARgamma2 may play a role in BMP-induced osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation. Thus, it is important to understand the molecular mechanism behind BMP-regulated lineage divergence during MSC differentiation, as this knowledge could help us to understand the pathogenesis of skeletal diseases and may lead to the development of strategies for regenerative medicine.
Wnt/beta-catenin pathway plays an important role in regulating embryonic development. Hepatocytes differentiate from endoderm during development. Hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) have been isolated from fetal liver and extrahepatic tissues. Most current studies in liver development and hepatic differentiation have been focused on Wnts, beta-catenin, and their receptors. Here, we sought to determine the role of Wnt antagonists in regulating hepatic differentiation of fetal liver-derived HPCs. Using mouse liver tissues derived from embryonic day E12.5 to postnatal day (PD) 28, we found that 13 of the 19 Wnt genes and almost all of Wnt receptors/co-receptors were expressed in most stages. However, Wnt antagonists SFRP2, SFRP3, and Dkk2 were only detected in the early stages. We established and characterized the reversible stable HPCs derived from E14.5 mouse fetal liver (HP14.5). HP14.5 cells were shown to express high levels of early liver progenitor cell markers, but low levels or none of late liver markers. HP14.5 cells were shown to differentiate into mature hepatocytes upon dexamethasone (Dex) stimulation. Dex-induced late marker expression and albumin promoter activity in HP14.5 cells were inhibited by exogenous expression of SFRP3. Furthermore, Dex-induced glycogen synthesis of PAS-positive HP14.5 cells was significantly inhibited by SFRP3. Therefore, our results have demonstrated that the expression of Wnt antagonists decreases as hepatic differentiation progresses, suggesting that a balanced Wnt signaling may be critical during mouse liver development and hepatic differentiation.
Pluripotent mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are bone marrow stromal progenitor cells that can differentiate into osteogenic, chondrogenic, adipogenic, and myogenic lineages. We previously demonstrated that bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) 9 is one of the most potent and yet least characterized BMPs that are able to induce osteogenic differentiation of MSCs both in vitro and in vivo. Here, we conducted gene expression-profiling analysis and identified that Hey1 of the hairy/Enhancer of split-related repressor protein basic helix-loop-helix family was among the most significantly up-regulated early targets in BMP9-stimulated MSCs. We demonstrated that Hey1 expression was up-regulated at the immediate early stage of BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis indicated that Hey1 may be a direct target of the BMP9-induced Smad signaling pathway. Silencing Hey1 expression diminished BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation both in vitro and in vivo and led to chondrogenic differentiation. Likewise, constitutive Hey1 expression augmented BMP9-mediated bone matrix mineralization. Hey1 and Runx2 were shown to act synergistically in BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation, and Runx2 expression significantly decreased in the absence of Hey1, suggesting that Runx2 may function downstream of Hey1. Accordingly, the defective osteogenic differentiation caused by Hey1 knockdown was rescued by exogenous Runx2 expression. Thus, our findings suggest that Hey1, through its interplay with Runx2, may play an important role in regulating BMP9-induced osteoblast lineage differentiation of MSCs.
Various neoadjuvant approaches have been evaluated for the treatment of locally advanced soft-tissue sarcomas. This retrospective study describes a uniquely modified version of the Eilber regimen developed at the University of Chicago.
Bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP-9) is a member of the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta/BMP superfamily, and we have demonstrated that it is one of the most potent BMPs to induce osteoblast differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Here, we sought to investigate if canonical Wnt/beta-catenin signalling plays an important role in BMP-9-induced osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. Wnt3A and BMP-9 enhanced each others ability to induce alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in MSCs and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). Wnt antagonist FrzB was shown to inhibit BMP-9-induced ALP activity more effectively than Dkk1, whereas a secreted form of LPR-5 or low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein (LRP)-6 exerted no inhibitory effect on BMP-9-induced ALP activity. beta-Catenin knockdown in MSCs and MEFs diminished BMP-9-induced ALP activity, and led to a decrease in BMP-9-induced osteocalcin reporter activity and BMP-9-induced expression of late osteogenic markers. Furthermore, beta-catenin knockdown or FrzB overexpression inhibited BMP-9-induced mineralization in vitro and ectopic bone formation in vivo, resulting in immature osteogenesis and the formation of chondrogenic matrix. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analysis indicated that BMP-9 induced recruitment of both Runx2 and beta-catenin to the osteocalcin promoter. Thus, we have demonstrated that canonical Wnt signalling, possibly through interactions between beta-catenin and Runx2, plays an important role in BMP-9-induced osteogenic differentiation of MSCs.
Differentiation of embryonic and adult myogenic progenitors undergoes a complex series of cell rearrangements and specification events which are controlled by distinct gene regulatory networks. Delineation of the molecular mechanisms that regulate skeletal muscle specification and formation should be important for understanding congenital myopathies and muscular degenerative diseases. Retinoic acid (RA) signaling plays an important role in development. However, the role of RA signaling in adult myogenic progenitors is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of RA signaling in regulating myogenic differentiation of myoblastic progenitor cells. Using the mouse myoblast progenitor C2C12 line as a model, we have found that the endogenous expression of most RAR and RXR isotypes is readily detected. While the nuclear receptor co-repressors are highly expressed, two of the three nuclear receptor co-activators and the enzymes involved in RA synthesis are expressed at low level or undetectable, suggesting that the RA signaling pathway may be repressed in myogenic progenitors. Using the alpha-myosin heavy chain promoter-driven reporter (MyHC-GLuc), we have demonstrated that either ATRA or 9CRA is able to effectively induce myogenic differentiation, which can be synergistically enhanced when both ATRA and 9CRA are used. Upon ATRA and 9CRA treatment of C2C12 cells the expression of late myogenic markers significantly increases. We have further shown that adenovirus-mediated exogenous expression of RARalpha and/or RXRalpha is able to effectively induce myogenic differentiation in a ligand-independent fashion. Morphologically, ATRA- and 9CRA-treated C2C12 cells exhibit elongated cell body and become multi-nucleated myoblasts, and even form myoblast fusion. Ultrastructural analysis under transmission electron microscope reveals that RA-treated myogenic progenitor cells exhibit an abundant presence of muscle fibers. Therefore, our results strongly suggest that RA signaling may play an important role in regulating myogenic differentiation.
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary malignancy of bone in children and young adults. There is a paucity of tumorigenic and highly metastatic human osteosarcoma cell lines that have not been further transformed by exogenous means. Here we establish and characterize a highly metastatic human osteosarcoma cell line that is derived from a poorly metastatic MG63 line through serial passage in nude mice via intratibial injections. The occasional pulmonary metastases developed from MG63 were harvested and repassaged in mice until a highly metastatic subline (MG63.2) was established. The parental MG63 and highly metastatic MG63.2 cells were further characterized in vitro and in vivo. MG63.2 cells demonstrated increased cell migration and invasion compared to the parental MG63 cells. Conversely, cell adhesion was significantly greater in MG63 cells when compared to the MG63.2 cells. MG63.2 cells grew at a slightly slower rate than that of the parental cells. When injected into nude mice, MG63.2 cells had a greater than 200-fold increase in developing pulmonary metastases compared to the parental MG63 cells. MG63.2 cells also formed larger primary tumors when compared to the parental MG63 cells. Further analysis revealed that ezrin expression was up-regulated in the metastatic MG63.2 cells. Interestingly, expressions of MMP-2 and MMP-9 were down-regulated, and expression of TIMP-2 was up-regulated in the MG63.2 cells. Taken together, we have established and characterized a highly metastatic human osteosarcoma cell line that should serve as a valuable tool for future investigations on the pathogenesis, metastasis, and potential treatments of human osteosarcoma.
Mesenchymal stromal progenitor cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitors that can be isolated from numerous tissues. MSCs can undergo osteogenic differentiation under proper stimuli. We have recently demonstrated that bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9) is one of the most osteogenic BMPs. As one of the least studied BMPs, BMP9 has been shown to regulate angiogenesis in endothelial cells. However, it is unclear whether BMP9-regulated angiogenic signaling plays any important role in the BMP9-initiated osteogenic pathway in MSCs. Here, we investigate the functional role of hypoxia-inducible factor 1? (HIF1?)-mediated angiogenic signaling in BMP9-regulated osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. We find that BMP9 induces HIF1? expression in MSCs through Smad1/5/8 signaling. Exogenous expression of HIF1? potentiates BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation of MSCs both in vitro and in vivo. siRNA-mediated silencing of HIF1? or HIF1? inhibitor CAY10585 profoundly blunts BMP9-induced osteogenic signaling in MSCs. HIF1? expression regulated by cobalt-induced hypoxia also recapitulates the synergistic effect between HIF1? and BMP9 in osteogenic differentiation. Mechanistically, HIF1? is shown to exert its synergistic effect with BMP9 by inducing both angiogenic signaling and osteogenic signaling in MSCs. Thus, our findings should not only expand our understanding of the molecular basis behind BMP9-regulated osteoblastic lineage-specific differentiation, but also provide an opportunity to harness the BMP9-induced synergy between osteogenic and angiogenic signaling pathways in regenerative medicine.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is one of the most common malignant bone tumors. Despite the advancement of diagnosis and treatment for OS, the prognosis remains poor. We investigated the proliferation inhibitory effect of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) for human OS and the possible mechanism underlying this effect. We examined the proliferation inhibition and apoptosis-inducing effects of ATRA in 143B OS cells. We validated this effect by exogenously expressing the retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR?) in 143B OS cells and injecting the cells into nude mice. We explored the possible mechanism for the proliferation inhibitory effect of ATRA on OS cells and multipotential progenitor cells by detecting osteogenic markers. We demonstrated that the endogenous retinoic acid receptor and retinoid X receptor are all detectable in the commercially available OS cell lines and in primary osteosarcoma cells. ATRA inhibits the proliferation of OS cells in a concentration-dependent manner, as well as induces apoptosis in 143B OS cells. The exogenous expression of RAR? inhibits the tumor growth and cell proliferation in vivo. The alkaline phosphatase activity, protein levels of osteopontin (OPN) and osteocalcin (OCN) are all promoted by ATRA in OS cells and mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), at least by activating the Smad signaling pathway. Collectively, our results strongly indicate that ATRA can inhibit the tumor growth of OS by promoting osteogenic differentiation in OS cells, which is mediated in part by activating Smad signaling. Therefore, combination of ATRA with other current chemotherapy agents may be a promising therapy strategy for OS treatment.
Growth hormone (GH) is usually released by somatotrophs in the anterior pituitary in response to the GH-releasing hormone and plays an important role in skeleton development and postnatal growth. However, it is unclear if extrapituitary GH exerts any effect on murine multilineage cells (MMCs). MMCs are multipotent progenitors that give rise to several lineages, including bone, cartilage, and fat. We have identified bone morphogenic protein 9 (BMP9) as one of the most osteogenic BMPs in MMCs by regulating a distinct set of downstream mediators. In this study, we find that GH is one of the most significantly upregulated genes by BMP9 in mouse MMCs through expression-profiling analysis. We confirm that GH is a direct early target of and upregulated by BMP9 signaling. Exogenous GH synergizes with BMP9 on inducing early and late osteogenic markers in MMCs. Furthermore, BMP9 and GH costimulation leads to a significant expansion of growth plate in cultured limb explants. Although GH alone does not induce de novo bone formation in an ectopic bone formation model, BMP9 and GH costimulated MMCs form more mature bone, which can be inhibited by silencing GH expression. The synergistic osteogenic activity between BMP9 and GH can be significantly blunted by JAK/STAT inhibitors, leading to a decrease in GH-regulated insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) expression in MMCs. Our results strongly suggest that BMP9 may effectively regulate extrapituitary GH expression in MMCs. Thus, it is conceivable that the BMP9-GH-IGF axis may be exploited as an innovative strategy to enhance osteogenesis in regenerative medicine.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells which reside in many tissues and can give rise to multiple lineages including bone, cartilage and adipose. Although MSCs have attracted significant attention for basic and translational research, primary MSCs have limited life span in culture which hampers MSCs broader applications. Here, we investigate if mouse mesenchymal progenitors can be conditionally immortalized with SV40 large T antigen and maintain long-term cell proliferation without compromising their multipotency. Using the system which expresses SV40 large T antigen flanked with Cre/loxP sites, we demonstrate that mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) can be efficiently immortalized by SV40 large T antigen. The conditionally immortalized MEFs (iMEFs) exhibit an enhanced proliferative activity and maintain long-term cell proliferation, which can be reversed by Cre recombinase. The iMEFs express most MSC markers and retain multipotency as they can differentiate into osteogenic, chondrogenic and adipogenic lineages under appropriate differentiation conditions in vitro and in vivo. The removal of SV40 large T reduces the differentiation potential of iMEFs possibly due to the decreased progenitor expansion. Furthermore, the iMEFs are apparently not tumorigenic when they are subcutaneously injected into athymic nude mice. Thus, the conditionally immortalized iMEFs not only maintain long-term cell proliferation but also retain the ability to differentiate into multiple lineages. Our results suggest that the reversible immortalization strategy using SV40 large T antigen may be an efficient and safe approach to establishing long-term cell culture of primary mesenchymal progenitors for basic and translational research, as well as for potential clinical applications.
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