Myocardin-Related Transcription Factor A (MRTF-A) Regulates the Balance between Adipogenesis and Osteogenesis of Human Adipose Stem Cells

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    Previous studies have demonstrated that myocardin-related transcription factor A (MRTF-A) generates a link between the dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton and gene expression with its coregulator, serum response factor (SRF). MRTF-A has also been suggested as a regulator of stem cell differentiation. However, the role of MRTF-A in human mesenchymal stem cell differentiation remains understudied. We aimed to elucidate whether MRTF-A is a potential regulator of human adipose stem cell (hASC) differentiation towards adipogenic and osteogenic lineages. To study the role of MRTF-A activity in the differentiation process, hASCs were cultured in adipogenic and osteogenic media supplemented with inhibitor molecules CCG-1423 or CCG-100602 that have been shown to block the expression of MRTF-A/SRF-activated genes. Our results of image-based quantification of Oil Red O stained lipid droplets and perilipin 1 staining denote that MRTF-A inhibition enhanced the adipogenic differentiation. On the contrary, MRTF-A inhibition led to diminished activity of an early osteogenic marker alkaline phosphatase, and export of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins collagen type I and osteopontin. Also, quantitative Alizarin Red staining representing ECM mineralization was significantly decreased under MRTF-A inhibition. Image-based analysis of Phalloidin staining revealed that MRTF-A inhibition reduced the F-actin formation and parallel orientation of the actin filaments. Additionally, MRTF-A inhibition affected the protein amounts of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), myosin light chain (MLC), and phosphorylated MLC suggesting that MRTF-A would regulate differentiation through SRF activity. Our results strongly indicate that MRTF-A is an important regulator of the balance between osteogenesis and adipogenesis of hASCs through its role in mediating the cytoskeletal dynamics. These results provide MRTF-A as a new interesting target for guiding the stem cell differentiation in tissue engineering applications for regenerative medicine.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number8853541
    JournalStem Cells International
    Publication statusPublished - 2020
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Publication forum classification

    • Publication forum level 1

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cell Biology


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