Distal-less homeobox 2 promotes the osteogenic differentiation potential of stem cells from apical papilla
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Dental tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a reliable cell source for dental tissue regeneration. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the directed differentiation of MSCs remain unclear; thus, their use is limited. The histone demethylase, lysine (K)-specific demethylase 4B (KDM4B), plays critical roles in the osteogenic commitment of MSCs by up-regulating distal-less homeobox 2 (DLX2) expression. The DLX2 gene is highly expressed in dental tissue-derived MSCs but the roles of DLX2 in osteogenesis are unclear. Here, we investigate DLX2 function in stem cells from apical papilla (SCAPs). We found that, in vitro, DLX2 expression was up-regulated in SCAPs by adding BMP4 and by inducing osteogenesis. The knock-down of DLX2 in SCAPs decreased alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and mineralization. DLX2 depletion affected the mRNA expression of ALP, bone sialoprotein (BSP) and osteocalcin (OCN) and inhibited SCAP osteogenic differentiation in vitro. Over-expression of DLX2 enhanced ALP activity, mineralization and the expression of ALP, BSP and OCN in vitro. In addition, transplant experiments in nude mice confirmed that SCAP osteogenesis was triggered when DLX2 was activated. Furthermore, DLX2 expression led to the expression of the key transcription factor, osterix (OSX) but not to the expression of runt-related transcription factor 2 (RUNX2). Taken together, these results indicate that DLX2 is stimulated by BMP signaling and enhances SCAP osteogenic differentiation by up-regulating OSX. Thus, the activation of DLX2 signaling might improve tissue regeneration mediated by MSCs of dental origin. These results provide insight into the mechanism underlying the directed differentiation of MSCs of dental origin.
KeywordsDistal-less homeobox 2 (DLX2) Osteogenic Differentiation Stem cells from apical papilla (SCAPs) Osterix (OSX)
This work was supported by the National Sciences Foundation of China (Grant No. 30872895 and 81300841); by a Key Technology Project Grant for Science and Technology, Department of Hunan Province (Grant No. 2008FJ2011); by the Nature Sciences Foundation of Hunan Province (Grant No. S2013J504B); and by a Project Grant for Science and Technology, Department of Hunan Province (Grant No. 2013SK5075).
Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest
The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest.
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