Integrin activation and internalization on soft ECM as a mechanism of induction of stem cell differentiation by ECM elasticity.
ABSTRACT: The mechanism by which ECM elasticity induces lineage specification of stem cells has not been clearly understood. Integrins are well-documented mechanosensors that are positioned at the beginning of the sensing pathway. By using an antibody specifically recognizing the active conformation of ?1 integrin, we observed that ?1 integrin activation in bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) was induced by soft substrate to a significantly greater degree than by stiff substrate. In contrast, however, the level of cell surface integrin on soft substrate was significantly lower than that on stiff substrate. Soft substrate markedly enhanced the internalization of integrin, and this internalization was mediated mainly through caveolae/raft-dependent endocytosis. The inhibition of integrin internalization blocked the neural lineage specification of BMMSCs on soft substrate. Furthermore, soft substrate also repressed the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)/Smad pathway at least partially through integrin-regulated BMP receptor endocytosis. A theoretical analysis based on atomic force microscopy (AFM) data indicated that integrin-ligand complexes are more easily ruptured on soft substrate; this outcome may contribute to the enhancement of integrin internalization on soft substrate. Taken together, our results suggest that ECM elasticity affects integrin activity and trafficking to modulate integrin BMP receptor internalization, thus contributing to stem cell lineage specification.
Project description:The propensity of stem cells to specify and commit to a particular lineage program is guided by dynamic biophysical and biochemical signals that are temporally regulated. However, most in vitro studies rely on "snapshots" of cell state under static conditions. Here we asked whether changing the biophysical aspects of the substrate could modulate the degree of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) lineage specification. We chose to explore two diverse differentiation outcomes: MSC osteogenesis and trans-differentiation to neuron-like cells. MSCs were cultured on soft (~0.5?kPa) or stiff (~40?kPa) hydrogels followed by transfer to gels of the opposite stiffness. MSCs on soft gels express elevated neurogenesis markers while MSCs on stiff substrates express elevated osteogenesis markers. Transfer of MSCs from soft to stiff or stiff to soft substrates led to a switch in lineage specification. However, MSCs transferred from stiff to soft substrates maintained elevated osteogenesis markers, suggesting a degree of irreversible activation. Transferring MSCs to micropatterned substrates reveal geometric cues that further modulate lineage reversal. Taken together, this study demonstrates that MSCs remain susceptible to the biophysical properties of the extracellular matrix--even after several weeks of culture--and can redirect lineage specification in response to changes in the microenvironment.
Project description:The extracellular matrix plays a crucial role in controlling human mesenchymal stem cell (hMSC) biology including differentiation, and ?5?1 integrin signaling plays an important role during osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs. Here, peptide-functionalized hydrogels were used to examine the role of ?5?1 integrin signaling in inducing osteogenic differentiation in hMSCs. Further, the role of substrate elasticity was also studied. A thiolene chemistry was used to functionalize poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels with a pendant peptide moieity, c(RRETAWA), as previous studies have shown that RRETAWA containing peptides bind to the ?5?1 integrin with very high specificity. Notably, hMSC attachment to c(RRETAWA)-functionalized hydrogels was found to occur primarily through ?5 integrins, as the number of attached cells was significantly reduced to ~20% upon blocking the ?5 integrin during culture. To investigate the interplay between stiffness and c(RRETAWA) concentration, hydrogels were formulated with Young's moduli of ~2 kPa (soft) and ~25 kPa (stiff) and c(RRETAWA) concentrations of 0.1 mM and 1 mM. Stiff substrates led to ~3.5 fold higher hMSC attachment and ~3 fold higher cell area in comparison to soft substrates. hMSCs formed robust and larger focal adhesions on stiff substrates at 1 mM c(RRETAWA) compared to soft substrates. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity in hMSCs cultured on stiff gels at 0.1 mM and 1 mM c(RRETAWA) was increased 2.5 and 3.5 fold, respectively after 14 days in growth media. hMSCs did not show an increase in ALP activity when cultured on soft gels. Further, gene expression of osteogenic related genes, core binding factor-1, osteopontin and Collagen-1a at day 14 in hMSCs cultured on stiff gels at 1 mM c(RRETAWA) were increased 10, 7 and 4 fold, respectively, while on soft gels, gene expression was at basal levels. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the combination of high substrate stiffness and ?5?1 integrin signaling stimulated by c(RRETAWA) is sufficient to induce osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs without requiring the addition of soluble factors.
Project description:Abnormally stiff substrates have been shown to trigger cancer progression. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms underlying this trigger are not clear. In this study, we cultured T84 human colorectal cancer cells on plastic dishes to create a stiff substrate or on collagen-I gel to create a soft substrate. The stiff substrate enhanced the expression of matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7), an indicator of poor prognosis. In addition, we used polyacrylamide gels (2, 67 and 126 kPa) so that the MMP-7 expression on the 126-kPa gel was higher compared with that on the 2-kPa gel. Next, we investigated whether yes-associated protein (YAP) affected the MMP-7 expression. YAP knockdown decreased MMP-7 expression. Treatment with inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and myosin regulatory light chain (MRLC) and integrin-α2 or integrin-β1 knockdown downregulated MMP-7 expression. Finally, we demonstrated that YAP, EGFR, integrin-α2β1 and MRLC produced a positive feedback loop that enhanced MMP-7 expression. These findings suggest that stiff substrates enhanced colorectal cancer cell viability by upregulating MMP-7 expression through a positive feedback loop.
Project description:Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a valuable cell source for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Transforming growth factor ? (TGF-?) can promote MSC differentiation into either smooth muscle cells (SMCs) or chondrogenic cells. Here we showed that the stiffness of cell adhesion substrates modulated these differential effects. MSCs on soft substrates had less spreading, fewer stress fibers and lower proliferation rate than MSCs on stiff substrates. MSCs on stiff substrates had higher expression of SMC markers ?-actin and calponin-1; in contrast, MSCs on soft substrates had a higher expression of chondrogenic marker collagen-II and adipogenic marker lipoprotein lipase (LPL). TGF-? increased SMC marker expression on stiff substrates. However, TGF-? increased chondrogenic marker expression and suppressed adipogenic marker expression on soft substrates, while adipogenic medium and soft substrates induced adipogenic differentiation effectively. Rho GTPase was involved in the expression of all aforementioned lineage markers, but did not account for the differential effects of substrate stiffness. In addition, soft substrates did not significantly affect Rho activity, but inhibited Rho-induced stress fiber formation and ?-actin assembly. Further analysis showed that MSCs on soft substrates had weaker cell adhesion, and that the suppression of cell adhesion strength mimicked the effects of soft substrates on the lineage marker expression. These results provide insights of how substrate stiffness differentially regulates stem cell differentiation, and have significant implications for the design of biomaterials with appropriate mechanical property for tissue regeneration.
Project description:Surface coatings delivering BMP are a promising approach to render biomaterials osteoinductive. In contrast to soluble BMPs which can interact with their receptors at the dorsal side of the cell, BMPs presented as an insoluble cue physically bound to a biomimetic matrix, called here matrix-bound (bBMP-2), are presented to cells by their ventral side. To date, BMP-2 internalization and signaling studies in cell biology have always been performed by adding soluble (sBMP-2) to cells adhered on cell culture plates or glass slides, which will be considered here as a "reference" condition. However, whether and how matrix-bound BMP-2 can be internalized by cells and its relation to canonical (SMAD) and non-canonical signaling (ALP) remain open questions. In this study, we investigated the uptake and processing of BMP-2 by C2C12 myoblasts. This BMP-2 was presented either embedded in polyelectrolyte multilayer films (matrix-bound presentation) or as soluble form. Using fluorescently labeled BMP-2, we showed that the amount of matrix-bound BMP-2 internalized is dependent on the level of crosslinking of the polyelectrolyte films. Cav-1-mediated internalization is related to both SMAD and ALP signaling, while clathrin-mediated is only related to ALP signaling. BMP-2 internalization was independent of the presentation mode (sBMP-2 versus bBMP-2) for low crosslinked films (soft, EDC10) in striking contrast with high crosslinked (stiff, EDC70) films where internalization was much lower and slower for bBMP-2. As anticipated, internalization of sBMP-2 barely depended on the underlying matrix. Taken together, these results indicate that BMP-2 internalization can be tuned by the underlying matrix and activates downstream BMP-2 signaling, which is key for the effective formation of bone tissue. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE:The presentation of growth factors from material surfaces currently presents significant challenges in academic research, clinics and industry. Being able to deliver efficiently these growth factors by a biomaterial will open new perspectives for regenerative medicine. However, to date, very little is known about how matrix-bound growth factors are delivered to cells, especially whether they are internalized and how they are signaling to drive key differentiation events. These initial steps are crucial as they will guide the subsequent processes leading to tissue regeneration. In this work, we investigate the uptake and processing by cells of BMP-2 ligands embedded in polyelectrolyte multilayer films in comparison to soluble BMP-2. We show that BMP-2 responsive cells can internalize matrix-bound BMP-2 and that internalization is dependent on the cross-linking level of the polyelectrolyte films. In addition, we show that internalization is mediated by both clathrin- and caveolin-dependent pathways. While inhibiting clathrin-dependent endocytosis affects only non-canonical signaling, blocking caveolin-1-dependent endocytosis reduces both canonical and non-canonical BMP signaling. The signaling pathways found for matrix-bound BMP-2 are similar to those found for soluble BMP-2. These results highlight that BMP-2 presented by a biomaterial at the ventral side of the cell can trigger major endocytic and associated signaling pathways leading to bone regeneration.
Project description:Focal adhesion (FA) assembly, mediated by integrin activation, responds to matrix stiffness; however, the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, we showed that ?1 integrin and caveolin-1 (Cav1) levels were decreased with declining matrix stiffness. Soft matrix selectively downregulated ?1 integrin by endocytosis and subsequent lysosomal degradation. Disruption of lipid rafts with methyl-?-cyclodextrin or nystatin, or knockdown of Cav1 by siRNA decreased cell spreading, FA assembly, and ?1 integrin protein levels in cells cultured on stiff matrix. Overexpression of Cav1, particularly the phospho-mimetic mutant Cav1-Y14D, averted soft matrix-induced decreases in ?1 integrin protein levels, cell spreading, and FA assembly in NMuMG cells. Interestingly, overexpression of an auto-clustering ?1 integrin hindered soft matrix-induced reduction of Cav1 and cell spreading, which suggests a reciprocal regulation between ?1 integrin and Cav1. Finally, co-expression of this auto-clustering ?1 integrin and Cav1-Y14D synergistically enhanced cell spreading, and FA assembly in HEK293T cells cultured on either stiff (?>?G Pa) or soft (0.2 kPa) matrices. Collectively, these results suggest that matrix stiffness governs the expression of ?1 integrin and Cav1, which reciprocally control each other, and subsequently determine FA assembly and turnover.
Project description:To investigate the genes differentially expressed upon plating on top of matrixes with different stiffness, we compared the expression profiles of MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells plated on a stiff substrate (plastic) with the same cells plated on a soft substrate (hydrogels 0.7 kPa). Keywords: expression profiling by array Overall design: We collected RNA from MDA-MB-231 cells plated and cultured from 2 days on a stiff substrate and on a soft substrate. Samples were then processed for total RNA extraction and hybridization on Affymetrix microarrays. Four biological replicas (A, B, C, D) were used for each condition for a total of 8 samples.
Project description:Osteoporosis in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is thought to be the result of accelerated osteoclastogenesis induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF). However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the osteoblastogenesis in SLE patients are not fully understood. We investigated the bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2)-induced osteoblastic capacity of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMMSCs) from SLE patients and the TNF signaling system in determining BMP-2-induced regulatory pathways. It showed that the capacity of osteogenic differentiation of BMMSCs from SLE patients was reduced compared with that from healthy controls. The nuclear factor ?B (NF-?B) signaling was activated while the BMP/Smad pathway was repressed in BMMSCs from SLE patients. TNF activated NF-?B pathway and inhibited the phosphorylation of Smad 1/5/8 and BMP-2-induced osteoblastic differentiation in BMMSCs from normal controls, while addition of pyrollidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC), an NF-?B inhibitor, to SLE-BMMSCs could partially reverse these effects. Thus, our findings have shown that the activated NF-?B pathway in SLE-BMMSCs inhibits the BMP-2-induced osteoblastic differentiation through BMP/Smad signaling pathway, suggesting that the impaired osteoblastic differentiation may participate in the pathology of osteoporosis in SLE patients.
Project description:During endoderm formation, cell identity and tissue morphogenesis are tightly controlled by cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic factors such as biochemical and physical inputs. While the effects of biochemical factors are well studied, the physical cues that regulate cell division and differentiation are poorly understood. RNA sequencing analysis demonstrated increases of endoderm-specific gene expression in hPSCs cultured on soft substrate (Young's modulus, 3 ± 0.45 kPa) in comparison with hard substrate (Young's modulus, 165 ± 6.39 kPa). Further analyses revealed that multiple long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) were up-regulated on soft substrate; among them, LINC00458 was identified as a stiffness-dependent lncRNA specifically required for hPSC differentiation toward an early endodermal lineage. Gain- and loss-of-function experiments confirmed that LINC00458 is functionally required for hPSC endodermal lineage specification induced by soft substrates. Our study provides evidence that mechanical cues regulate the expression of LINC00458 and induce differentiation of hPSC into hepatic lineage progenitors.
Project description:Abscission is the final stage of cytokinesis during which the parent cell physically separates to yield two identical daughters. Failure of abscission results in multinucleation (MNC), a sign of genomic instability and a precursor to aneuploidy, enabling characteristics of neoplastic progression. Induction of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) causes MNC in mammary epithelial cells cultured on stiff microenvironments that have mechanical properties similar to those found in breast tumors, but not on soft microenvironments reminiscent of the normal mammary gland. Here we report that on stiff microenvironments, EMT signaling through Snail up-regulates the midbody-associated proteins septin-6, Mklp1, and anillin, leading to abscission failure and MNC. To uncover the mechanism by which stiff microenvironments promote MNC in cells undergoing EMT, we investigated the role of cell-matrix adhesion through β1-integrin and integrin-linked kinase (ILK). We found that ILK expression, but not kinase activity, is required for EMT-associated MNC in cells on stiff microenvironments. Conversely, increasing focal adhesions by expressing an autoclustering mutant of β1-integrin promotes MNC in cells on soft microenvironments. Our data suggest that signaling through focal adhesions causes failure of cytokinesis in cells actively undergoing EMT. These results highlight the importance of tissue mechanics and adhesion in regulating the cellular response to EMT inducers.