Validation of Osteogenic Properties of Cytochalasin D by High-Resolution RNA-Sequencing in Mesenchymal Stem Cells Derived from Bone Marrow and Adipose Tissues

Rebekah M. Samsonraj, Christopher R. Paradise, Amel Dudakovic, Buer Sen, Asha A. Nair, Allan B Dietz, David R Deyle, Simon M. Cool, Janet Rubin, Andre J van Wijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Differentiation of mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (MSCs) involves a series of molecular signals and gene transcription events required for attaining cell lineage commitment. Modulation of the actin cytoskeleton using cytochalasin D (CytoD) drives osteogenesis at early timepoints in bone marrow-derived MSCs and also initiates a robust osteogenic differentiation program in adipose tissue-derived MSCs. To understand the molecular basis for these pronounced effects on osteogenic differentiation, we investigated global changes in gene expression in CytoD-treated murine and human MSCs by high-resolution RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis. A three-way bioinformatic comparison between human adipose tissue-derived MSCs (hAMSCs), human bone marrow-derived MSCs (hBMSCs), and mouse bone marrow-derived MSCs (mBMSCs) revealed significant upregulation of genes linked to extracellular matrix organization, cell adhesion and bone metabolism. As anticipated, the activation of these differentiation-related genes is accompanied by a downregulation of nuclear and cell cycle-related genes presumably reflecting cytostatic effects of CytoD. We also identified eight novel CytoD activated genes - VGLL4, ARHGAP24, KLHL24, RCBTB2, BDH2, SCARF2, ACAD10, HEPH - which are commonly upregulated across the two species and tissue sources of our MSC samples. We selected the Hippo pathway-related VGLL4 gene, which encodes the transcriptional co-factor Vestigial-like 4, for further study because this pathway is linked to osteogenesis. VGLL4 small interfering RNA depletion reduces mineralization of hAMSCs during CytoD-induced osteogenic differentiation. Together, our RNA-seq analyses suggest that while the stimulatory effects of CytoD on osteogenesis are pleiotropic and depend on the biological state of the cell type, a small group of genes including VGLL4 may contribute to MSC commitment toward the bone lineage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1136-1145
Number of pages10
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 2018


  • bone
  • cell signaling
  • cytochalasin D
  • mesenchymal stromal cell
  • osteoblast
  • osteogenesis
  • stem cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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