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cDNA microarray reveals the alterations of cytoskeleton-related genes in osteoblast under high magneto-gravitational environment.

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Key Laboratory for Space Bioscience and Biotechnology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Institute of Special Environmental Biophysics, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an 710072, China.


The diamagnetic levitation as a novel ground-based model for simulating a reduced gravity environment has been widely applied in many fields. In this study, a special designed superconducting magnet, which can produce three apparent gravity levels (0, 1, and 2 g), namely high magneto-gravitational environment (HMGE), was used to simulate space gravity environment. The effects of HMGE on osteoblast gene expression profile were investigated by microarray. Genes sensitive to diamagnetic levitation environment (0 g), gravity changes, and high magnetic field changes were sorted on the basis of typical cell functions. Cytoskeleton, as an intracellular load-bearing structure, plays an important role in gravity perception. Therefore, 13 cytoskeleton-related genes were chosen according to the results of microarray analysis, and the expressions of these genes were found to be altered under HMGE by real-time PCR. Based on the PCR results, the expressions of WASF2 (WAS protein family, member 2), WIPF1 (WAS/WASL interacting protein family, member 1), paxillin, and talin 1 were further identified by western blot assay. Results indicated that WASF2 and WIPF1 were more sensitive to altered gravity levels, and talin 1 and paxillin were sensitive to both magnetic field and gravity changes. Our findings demonstrated that HMGE can affect osteoblast gene expression profile and cytoskeleton-related genes expression. The identification of mechanosensitive genes may enhance our understandings to the mechanism of bone loss induced by microgravity and may provide some potential targets for preventing and treating bone loss or osteoporosis.

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