Tissue Eng Part A 2012 Sep 10;18(17-18):1882-9. Epub 2012 Aug 10.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.
Expression of chondrocyte-specific genes is regulated by mechanical force. However, despite the progress in identifying the signal transduction cascades that activate expression of mechanoresponsive genes, little is known about the transcription factors that activate transcription of mechanoresponsive genes. The DNA elements that confer mechanoresponsiveness within a cartilage gene promoter have yet to be identified. We have established an experimental system to identify the DNA elements and transcription factors that mediate the mechanoresponse of a promoter to nominal compressive stress in primary human chondrocytes and stem cells in a three-dimensional culture system. Our results demonstrate that the proximal 3 Kb of the human cartilage oligomeric matrix protein promoter is sufficient to mediate a mechanoresponse in human articular chondrocytes and stem cells, and that the magnitude of mechanoresponse correlates to the regulation of the endogenous gene at the RNA and protein level. This information is critical to understanding how mechanical force regulates the transcriptional activation of cartilage genes in three-dimensional culture.
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