Decreased nuclear stiffness via FAK-ERK1/2 signaling is necessary for osteopontin-promoted migration of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells

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Migration of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) plays an important role in many physiological and pathological settings, including wound healing. During the migration of BMSCs through interstitial tissues, the movement of the nucleus must be coordinated with the cytoskeletal dynamics, which in turn affects the cell migration efficiency. Our previous study indicated that osteopontin (OPN) significantly promotes the migration of rat BMSCs. However, the nuclear behaviors and involved molecular mechanisms in OPN-mediated BMSC migration are largely unclear. In the present study, using an atomic force microscope (AFM), we found that OPN could decrease the nuclear stiffness of BMSCs and reduce the expression of lamin A/C, which is the main determinant of nuclear stiffness. Increased lamin A/C expression attenuates BMSC migration by increasing nuclear stiffness. Decreased lamin A/C expression promotes BMSC migration by decreasing nuclear stiffness. Furthermore, OPN promotes BMSC migration by diminishing lamin A/C expression and decreasing nuclear stiffness via the FAK-ERK1/2 signaling pathway. This study provides strong evidence for the role of nuclear mechanics in BMSC migration as well as new insight into the molecular mechanisms of OPN-promoted BMSC migration.

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