Osteogenic Stimulation of Human Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Using a Fungal Metabolite That Suppresses the Polycomb Group Protein EZH2

Rebekah M. Samsonraj, Amel Dudakovic, Bushra Manzar, Buer Sen, Allan B Dietz, Simon M. Cool, Janet Rubin, Andre J van Wijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Strategies for musculoskeletal tissue regeneration apply adult mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) that can be sourced from bone marrow- and lipo-aspirates. Adipose tissue-derived MSCs are more easily harvested in the large quantities required for skeletal tissue-engineering approaches, but are generally considered to be less osteogenic than bone marrow MSCs. Therefore, we tested a new molecular strategy to improve their osteogenic lineage-differentiation potential using the fungal metabolite cytochalasin D (CytoD). We show that CytoD, which may function by redistributing the intracellular location of β-actin (ACTB), is a potent osteogenic stimulant as reflected by significant increases in alkaline phosphatase activity, extracellular matrix mineralization, and osteoblast-related gene expression (e.g., RUNX2, ALPL, SPARC, and TGFB3). RNA sequencing analyses of MSCs revealed that acute CytoD treatment (24 hours) stimulates a broad program of osteogenic biomarkers and epigenetic regulators. CytoD decreases mRNA and protein levels of the Polycomb chromatin regulator Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 (EZH2), which controls heterochromatin formation by mediating trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3). Reduced EZH2 expression decreases cellular H3K27me3 marks indicating a global reduction in heterochromatin. We conclude that CytoD is an effective osteogenic stimulant that mechanistically functions by blocking both cytoplasmic actin polymerization and gene-suppressive epigenetic mechanisms required for the acquisition of the osteogenic phenotype in adipose tissue-derived MSCs. This finding supports the use of CytoD in advancing the osteogenic potential of MSCs in skeletal regenerative strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalStem cells translational medicine
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2017



  • Adipose stem cells
  • Bone
  • Epigenetics
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Tissue regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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