The origin and differentiation mechanism of articular chondrocytes remain poorly understood. Broadly, the difference in developmental mechanisms of articular and growth-plate cartilage is still less elucidated. Here, we identified that the nuclear factor of activated T-cells cytoplasmic 1 (NFATc1) is a crucial regulator of articular, but not growth-plate, chondrocyte differentiation during development. At the early stage of mouse knee development (embryonic day 13.5), NFATc1-expressing cells were mainly located in the flanking region of the joint interzone. With development, NFATc1-expressing cells generated almost all articular chondrocytes, but not chondrocytes in limb growth-plate primordium. NFATc1-expressing cells displayed prominent capacities for colony formation and multipotent differentiation. Transcriptome analyses revealed a set of characteristic genes in NFATc1-enriched articular cartilage progenitors. Strikingly, the expression of NFATc1 was diminished with articular chondrocyte differentiation and suppressing NFATc1 expression in articular cartilage progenitors was sufficient to induce spontaneous chondrogenesis while overexpressing NFATc1 suppresses chondrogenesis. Mechanistically, NFATc1 negatively regulated the transcriptional activity of the Col2a1 gene. Thus, our results reveal that NFATc1 characterizes articular, but not growth-plate, cartilage progenitors during development and negatively determines articular chondrocyte differentiation at least partly through regulating COL2A1 gene transcription.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting file. The raw datasets of RNA-seq are available in Dryad Digital Repository (doi:10.5061/dryad.2fqz612rw).
Data for: NFATc1 negatively determines chondrocyte differentiation in articular cartilage progenitorsDryad Digital Repository, doi:10.5061/dryad.2fqz612rw.
- Xianpeng Ge
- Xianpeng Ge
- Xianpeng Ge
- Xianpeng Ge
- Xianpeng Ge
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal studies followed the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the U.S. National Institutes of Health and were approved by Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at Capital Medical University (protocol #: AEEI-2022-036).
- Di Chen, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
© 2023, Zhang et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The canonical target of the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R), Protein Kinase A (PKA), has been shown to stimulate mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 (mTORC1) by phosphorylating the mTOR-regulating protein Raptor at Ser791 following β-adrenergic stimulation. The objective of these studies is to test whether GLP-1R agonists similarly stimulate mTORC1 via PKA phosphorylation of Raptor at Ser791 and whether this contributes to the weight loss effect of the therapeutic GLP-1R agonist liraglutide. We measured phosphorylation of the mTORC1 signaling target ribosomal protein S6 in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells expressing GLP-1R (CHO-Glp1r) treated with liraglutide in combination with PKA inhibitors. We also assessed liraglutide-mediated phosphorylation of the PKA substrate RRXS*/T* motif in CHO-Glp1r cells expressing Myc-tagged wild-type (WT) Raptor or a PKA-resistant (Ser791Ala) Raptor mutant. Finally, we measured the body weight response to liraglutide in WT mice and mice with a targeted knock-in of PKA-resistant Ser791Ala Raptor. Liraglutide increased phosphorylation of S6 and the PKA motif in WT Raptor in a PKA-dependent manner but failed to stimulate phosphorylation of the PKA motif in Ser791Ala Raptor in CHO-Glp1r cells. Lean Ser791Ala Raptor knock-in mice were resistant to liraglutide-induced weight loss but not setmelanotide-induced (melanocortin-4 receptor-dependent) weight loss. Diet-induced obese Ser791Ala Raptor knock-in mice were not resistant to liraglutide-induced weight loss; however, there was weight-dependent variation such that there was a tendency for obese Ser791Ala Raptor knock-in mice of lower relative body weight to be resistant to liraglutide-induced weight loss compared to weight-matched controls. Together, these findings suggest that PKA-mediated phosphorylation of Raptor at Ser791 contributes to liraglutide-induced weight loss.
Although there are several efficacious vaccines against COVID-19, vaccination rates in many regions around the world remain insufficient to prevent continued high disease burden and emergence of viral variants. Repurposing of existing therapeutics that prevent or mitigate severe COVID-19 could help to address these challenges. The objective of this study was to determine whether prior use of bisphosphonates is associated with reduced incidence and/or severity of COVID-19.
A retrospective cohort study utilizing payer-complete health insurance claims data from 8,239,790 patients with continuous medical and prescription insurance January 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020 was performed. The primary exposure of interest was use of any bisphosphonate from January 1, 2019 to February 29, 2020. Bisphosphonate users were identified as patients having at least one bisphosphonate claim during this period, who were then 1:1 propensity score-matched to bisphosphonate non-users by age, gender, insurance type, primary-care-provider visit in 2019, and comorbidity burden. Main outcomes of interest included: (a) any testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection; (b) COVID-19 diagnosis; and (c) hospitalization with a COVID-19 diagnosis between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020. Multiple sensitivity analyses were also performed to assess core study outcomes amongst more restrictive matches between BP users/non-users, as well as assessing the relationship between BP-use and other respiratory infections (pneumonia, acute bronchitis) both during the same study period as well as before the COVID outbreak.
A total of 7,906,603 patients for whom continuous medical and prescription insurance information was available were selected. A total of 450,366 bisphosphonate users were identified and 1:1 propensity score-matched to bisphosphonate non-users. Bisphosphonate users had lower odds ratios (OR) of testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection (OR = 0.22; 95%CI:0.21–0.23; p<0.001), COVID-19 diagnosis (OR = 0.23; 95%CI:0.22–0.24; p<0.001), and COVID-19-related hospitalization (OR = 0.26; 95%CI:0.24–0.29; p<0.001). Sensitivity analyses yielded results consistent with the primary analysis. Bisphosphonate-use was also associated with decreased odds of acute bronchitis (OR = 0.23; 95%CI:0.22–0.23; p<0.001) or pneumonia (OR = 0.32; 95%CI:0.31–0.34; p<0.001) in 2019, suggesting that bisphosphonates may protect against respiratory infections by a variety of pathogens, including but not limited to SARS-CoV-2.
Prior bisphosphonate-use was associated with dramatically reduced odds of SARS-CoV-2 testing, COVID-19 diagnosis, and COVID-19-related hospitalizations. Prospective clinical trials will be required to establish a causal role for bisphosphonate-use in COVID-19-related outcomes.
This study was supported by NIH grants, AR068383 and AI155865, a grant from MassCPR (to UHvA) and a CRI Irvington postdoctoral fellowship, CRI2453 (to PH).