Expression regulation and functional analysis of RGS2 and RGS4 in adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells
Abstract Background: Understanding the molecular basis underlying the formation of bone-forming osteocytes and lipid-storing adipocytes will help provide insights into the cause of disorders originating in stem/progenitor cells and develop therapeutic treatments for bone- or adipose-related diseases. In this study, the role of RGS2 and RGS4, two members of the regulators of G protein signaling (RGS) family, was investigated during adipogenenic and osteogenenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs). Results: Expression of RGS2 and RGS4 were found to be inversely regulated during adipogenesis induced by dexamethasone (DEX) and 3-isobutyl-methylxanthine, regardless if insulin was present, with RGS2 up-regulated and RGS4 down-regulated in response to adipogenic induction. RGS2 expression was also up-regulated during osteogenesis at a level similar to that induced by treatment of DEX alone, a shared component of adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation inducing media, but significantly lower than the level induced by adipogenic inducing media. RGS4 expression was down-regulated during the first 48 h of osteogenesis but up-regulated afterwards, in both cases at levels similar to that induced by DEX alone. Expression knock-down using small interfering RNA against RGS2 resulted in decreased differentiation efficiency during both adipogenesis and osteogenesis. On the other hand, expression knock-down of RGS4 also resulted in decreased adipogenic differentiation but increased osteogenic differentiation. Conclusions: RGS2 and RGS4 are differentially regulated during adipogenic and osteogenic differentiation of hMSCs. In addition, both RGS2 and RGS4 play positive roles during adipogenesis but opposing roles during osteogenesis, with RGS2 as a positive regulator and RGS4 as a negative regulator. These results imply that members of RGS proteins may play multifaceted roles during human adipogenesis and osteogenesis to balance or counterbalance each other's function during those processes.