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 journalArticlepeer-review

11 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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