MicroRNA-194 reciprocally stimulates osteogenesis and inhibits adipogenesis via regulating COUP-TFII expression

B-C Jeong, I-H Kang, Y-C Hwang, S-H Kim, J-T Koh
Cell Death & Disease 2014, 5: e1532
Osteoblasts and adipocytes are differentiated from common mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in processes which are tightly controlled by various growth factors, signaling molecules, transcriptional factors and microRNAs. Recently, chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II (COUP-TFII) was identified as a critical regulator of MSC fate. In the present study, we aimed to identify some microRNAs (miR), which target COUP-TFII, and to determine the effects on MSCs fate. During osteoblastic or adipocytic differentiation from MSCs lineage cells, miR-194 expression was found to be reversal. In the cultures of mesenchymal C3H10T1/2 and primary bone marrow stromal cells, osteogenic stimuli increased miR-194 expression with accompanying decreases in COUP-TFII expression, whereas adipogenic stimuli reduced miR-194 expression with accompanying increases in COUP-TFII expression. A luciferase assay with COUP-TFII 3'-untranslated region (UTR) reporter plasmid, including the miR-194 binding sequences, showed that the introduction of miR-194 reduced the luciferase activity. However, it did not affect the activity of mutated COUP-TFII 3'-UTR reporter. Enforced expression of miR-194 significantly enhanced osteoblast differentiation, but inhibited adipocyte differentiation by decreasing COUP-TFII mRNA and protein levels. In contrast, inhibition of the endogenous miR-194 reduced matrix mineralization in the MSCs cultures, promoting the formation of lipid droplets by rescuing COUP-TFII expression. Furthermore, overexpression of COUP-TFII reversed the effects of miR-194 on the cell fates. Taken together, our results showed that miR-194 acts as a critical regulator of COUP-TFII, and can determinate the fate of MSCs to differentiate into osteoblasts and adipocytes. This suggests that miR-194 and COUP-TFII may be good target molecules for controlling bone and metabolic diseases.

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