Dissection of mechanoresponse elements in promoter sites of the mechanoresponsive CYR61 gene

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Abstract

Mechanotransduction is important for mesenchymal regeneration and differentiation. Exaggerated high or very low impact yields pathological outcome resulting in fracture or tissue atrophy. Pathological strain in animal models was described but tools to dissect the respective stimuli and downstream pathways are limited. We expand the analytical tools to describe DNA strain response elements in a reporter gene approach. Deletion constructs of the human cysteine-rich protein 61 (CYR61) promoter were cloned into luciferase vectors and stably transfected into human telomerase-immortalised mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC-TERT). Cells were mechanically stimulated with variable frequencies, amplitudes and durations. Promoter activity was determined as well as CYR61 mRNA and protein expression. In silico promoter analysis identified putative transcription factor binding sites, one of which was a cAMP response element, verified by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. We demonstrate for the first time that the activity of promoter regions is inhibited in low, but stimulated in high frequency stimulations. We conclude that by varying conditions of mechanical strain it is possible to characterize stimulatory versus inhibitory strain on cellular levels. Our work may be helpful in future studies to dissect the molecular pathways of physiological versus pathological strain and may have implications for clinical exercise based treatment strategies.

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