MiRNA-376c-3p Mediates TWIST-1 Inhibition of Bone Marrow-Derived Stromal Cell Osteogenesis and Can Reduce Aberrant Bone Formation of TWIST-1 Haploinsufficient Calvarial Cells

Esther Camp, Clara Pribadi, Peter J. Anderson, Andrew Zannettino, Stan Gronthos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Key transcription factors, which activate or repress master gene regulators and signaling pathways, tightly regulate self-renewal and cell lineage differentiation of bone marrow-derived stromal cells (BMSC). Among these factors is the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Twist-related protein 1 (TWIST-1), which is important in BMSC self-renewal, life span, and differentiation. Another layer of gene regulation comes from microRNAs (miRNAs). miRNAs are short noncoding RNAs that interfere with translation of specific target mRNAs and thereby regulate diverse biological processes, including BMSC lineage commitment. However, little is known of how TWIST-1-regulated miRNAs control osteogenic commitment, and influence the fate of bone precursor cells. In this study, we have discovered a novel TWIST-1-regulated miRNA, miR-376c-3p. Reduced miR-376c-3p expression by a miR-376c-3p inhibitor or due to TWIST-1 haploinsufficiency promotes alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, mineral deposition, and expression of osteoblast-associated genes in BMSC and calvarial cells. Conversely, overexpression of miR-376c-3p using a miR-376c-3p mimic inhibited BMSC proliferation and the osteogenic potential of BMSC and TWIST-1 haploinsufficient calvarial cells. This was demonstrated by a decrease in insulin growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) levels, Akt signaling, ALP activity, mineral deposition, and expression of osteoblast-associated genes. Thus, miR-376c-3p reduces IGF1R/Akt signaling in BMSC and is one mechanism by which osteogenesis may be inhibited. Overall, we have identified miR-376c-3p as a TWIST-1-regulated miRNA, which plays an important role in the osteogenesis of bone precursor cells and can mediate TWIST-1 inhibition of osteogenesis. Furthermore, overexpression of miRNA-376c-3p in TWIST-1 haploinsufficient calvarial cells can decrease the aberrant osteogenesis of these cells, which contributes to increased calvarial bone volume and premature fusion of the coronal sutures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1621-1633
Number of pages13
JournalStem cells and development
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Dec 2018


  • TWIST-1
  • insulin growth factor 1 receptor
  • mesenchymal stem cells
  • miR-376c-3p
  • osteogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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