PLoS One 6:e21679 (2011)
Bo Yang1, Hongfeng Guo1, Yulan Zhang1,2, Lei Chen3, Dajun Ying1*, Shiwu Dong1*
Chondrogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is accurately regulated by essential transcription factors and signaling cascades. However, the precise mechanisms involved in this process still remain to be defined. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate various biological processes by binding target mRNA to attenuate protein synthesis. To investigate the mechanisms for miRNAs-mediated regulation of chondrogenic differentiation, we identified that miR-145 was decreased during transforming growth factor beta 3 (TGF-b3)-induced chondrogenic differentiation of murine MSCs. Subsequently, dual-luciferase reporter gene assay data demonstrated that miR-145 targets a putative binding site in the 39-UTR of SRYrelated high mobility group-Box gene 9 (Sox9) gene, the key transcription factor for chondrogenesis. In addition, overexpression of miR-145 decreased expression of Sox9 only at protein levels and miR-145 inhibition significantly elevated Sox9 protein levels. Furthermore, over-expression of miR-145 decreased mRNA levels for three chondrogenic marker genes, type II collagen (Col2a1), aggrecan (Agc1), cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP), type IX collagen (Col9a2) and type XI collagen (Col11a1) in C3H10T1/2 cells induced by TGF-b3, whereas anti-miR-145 inhibitor increased the expression of these chondrogenic marker genes. Thus, our studies demonstrated that miR-145 is a key negative regulator of chondrogenic differentiation by directly targeting Sox9 at early stage of chondrogenic differentiation.