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 journalArticlepeer-review

17 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. Stem Cells Translational Medicine 2018;7:197–209.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-209
Number of pages13
JournalStem Cells Translational Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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