Journal of cellular biochemistry

Altered signaling in the G1 phase deregulates chondrocyte growth in a mouse model with proteoglycan undersulfation.

PMID 24820054


In several skeletal dysplasias defects in extracellular matrix molecules affect not only the structural and mechanical properties of cartilage, but also the complex network of signaling pathways involved in cell proliferation and differentiation. Sulfated proteoglycans, besides playing an important structural role in cartilage, are crucial in modulating the transport, diffusion, and interactions of growth factors with their specific targets, taking part in the regulation of signaling pathways involved in skeletal development and growth. In this work, we investigated by real time PCR and Western blots of the microdissected growth plate and by immunohistochemistry the molecular basis of reduced chondrocyte proliferation in the growth plate of the dtd mouse, a chondrodysplastic model with defective chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan sulfation of articular and growth plate cartilage. We detected activation of the Wnt pathway, leading to an increase in the non-phosphorylated form of nuclear β-catenin and subsequent up-regulation of cyclin D1 expression in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. β-Catenin was further stabilized by up-regulation of Smad3 expression through TGF-β pathway synergistic activation. We demonstrate that notwithstanding cyclin D1 expression increase, cell cycle progression is compromised in the G1 phase due to reduced phosphorylation of the pocket protein p130 leading to inhibition of transcription factors of the E2F family which are crucial for cell cycle progression and DNA replication. These data, together with altered Indian hedgehox signaling detected previously, explain at the molecular level the reduced chondrocyte proliferation rate of the dtd growth plate leading to reduced skeletal growth.