MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are known to play critical roles in many cellular processes including those regulating skeletal development and homeostasis. A previous study from our group identified differentially expressed miRNAs in the developing human growth plate. Among those more highly expressed in hypertrophic chondrocytes compared to progenitor chondrocytes was miR-138, therefore suggesting a possible role for this miRNA in regulating chondrogenesis and/or endochondral ossification. The goal of this study was to determine the function of miR- 138 in regulating osteogenesis by using human osteoarthritic dedifferentiated chondrocytes (DDCs) as source of inducible cells. We show that over-expression of miR-138 inhibited osteogenic differentiation of DDCs in vitro. Moreover, cell shape was altered and cell proliferation and possibly migration was also suppressed by miR-138. Given alterations in cell shape, closer analysis revealed that F-actin polymerization was also inhibited by miR-138. Computational approaches showed that the small GTPase, RhoC, is a potential miR-138 target gene. We pursued RhoC further given its function in regulating cell proliferation and migration in cancer cells. Indeed, miR-138 over-expression in DDCs resulted in decreased RhoC protein levels. A series of rescue experiments showed that RhoC over-expression could attenuate the inhibitory actions of miR-138 on DDC proliferation, F-actin polymerization and osteogenic differentiation. Bone formation was also found to be enhanced within human demineralized bone scaffolds seeded with DDCs expressing both miR-138 and RhoC. In conclusion, we have discovered a new mechanism in DDCs whereby miR-138 functions to suppress RhoC which subsequently inhibits proliferation, F-actin polymerization and osteogenic differentiation. To date, there are no published reports on the importance of RhoC in regulating osteogenesis. This opens up new avenues of research involving miR-138 and RhoC pathways to better understand mechanisms regulating bone formation in addition to the potential use of DDCs as a cell source for bone tissue engineering.
|State||Published - Feb 2019|
- ACTIN CYTOSKELETON
- DEDIFFERENTIATED CHONDROCYTES