Overexpression of Pygo2 Increases Differentiation of Human Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells into Cardiomyocyte-like Cells

Author(s): Lei Yang, Shuoji Zhu, Yongqing Li, Jian Zhuang, Jimei Chen, Huanlei Huang, Yu Chen, Yulin Wen, Yao Wen, Huiming Guo, Xiongwei Fan, Wuzhou Yuan, Zhigang Jiang*, Yuequn Wang*, Xiushan Wu*, Ping Zhu*

Journal Name: Current Molecular Medicine

Volume 20 , Issue 4 , 2020

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Background: Our previous studies have shown that Pygo (Pygopus) in Drosophila plays a critical role in adult heart function that is likely conserved in mammals. However, its role in the differentiation of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) into cardiomyocytes remains unknown.

Objective: To investigate the role of pygo2 in the differentiation of hUC-MSCs into cardiomyocytes.

Methods: Third passage hUC-MSCs were divided into two groups: a p+ group infected with the GV492-pygo2 virus and a p− group infected with the GV492 virus. After infection and 3 or 21 days of incubation, Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) was performed to detect pluripotency markers, including OCT-4 and SOX2. Nkx2.5, Gata-4 and cTnT were detected by immunofluorescence at 7, 14 and 21 days post-infection, respectively. Expression of cardiac-related genes—including Nkx2.5, Gata-4, TNNT2, MEF2c, ISL-1, FOXH1, KDR, αMHC and α-Actin—were analyzed by qRT-PCR following transfection with the virus at one, two and three weeks.

Results: After three days of incubation, there were no significant changes in the expression of the pluripotency stem cell markers OCT-4 and SOX2 in the p+ group hUC-MSCs relative to controls (OCT-4: 1.03 ± 0.096 VS 1, P > 0.05, SOX2: 1.071 ± 0.189 VS 1, P > 0.05); however, after 21 days, significant decreases were observed (OCT-4: 0.164 ± 0.098 VS 1, P < 0.01, SOX2: 0.209 ± 0.109 VS 1, P < 0.001). Seven days following incubation, expression of mesoderm specialisation markers, such as Nkx2.5, Gata-4, MEF2c and KDR, were increased; at 14 days following incubation, expression of cardiac genes, such as Nkx2.5, Gata-4, TNNT2, MEF2c, ISL-1, FOXH1, KDR, αMHC and α-Actin, were significantly upregulated in the p+ group relative to the p− group (P < 0.05). Taken together, these findings suggest that overexpression of pygo2 results in more hUCMSCs gradually differentiating into cardiomyocyte-like cells.

Conclusion: We are the first to show that overexpression of pygo2 significantly enhances the expression of cardiac-genic genes, including Nkx2.5 and Gata-4, and promotes the differentiation of hUC-MSCs into cardiomyocyte-like cells.

Keywords: Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells, pygo2, overexpression, differentiation, cardiomyocytes, Nkx2.5, SOX2.

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Year: 2020
Published on: 19 March, 2020
Page: [318 - 324]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/1566524019666191017150416
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