Splicing regulators in endothelial cell differentiation

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Abstract

Aims

Alternative splicing represents a key mechanism of gene regulation. Despite its role in regulating cell pluripotency and differentiation being well known, the underlining mechanisms are still poorly studied. Here, we investigated the possible involvement of splicing regulators during the different steps of endothelial cell differentiation through expression studies on human circulating progenitors.

Methods

Total RNAs were extracted from all cells and reverse-transcribed. Semiquantitative and real-time RT-PCR was performed using selective oligonucleotides. Differences between group means were considered significant at P value less than 0.05 and more significant at P value less than 0.01. Protein extracts were incubated with an antibody directed against MED23. Immunoprecipitation of supernatants and pellets was probed with both anti-Muscleblind-like splicing regulator (MBNL)1 and anti-MBNL2 antibodies.

Results

Several clinical trials demonstrated the safety and efficacy of progenitor cells in regenerative therapy of the cardiovascular system. Particularly, we analyzed the expression of genes belonging to muscleblind family members and MED complex subunits, which are known to be involved during differentiation in other models. This study shows that MED23, MBNL1 and MBNL2 were all expressed at high levels only in differentiated cells. Moreover, immunoprecipitation assays indicated that MED23 is able to bind MBNLs in endothelial cells.

Conclusion

Our data suggest that MED23, MBNL1 and MBNL2 could regulate alternative splicing events activated during differentiation through a common mechanism. Hence, these observations corroborate previous evidence that splicing regulators may have an essential role in the basic apparatus required for cell pluripotency and reprogramming, allowing identification of novel biomarkers to use for early diagnosis in cardiovascular diseases.

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