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J Orthop Res. 2019 Aug 20. doi: 10.1002/jor.24449. [Epub ahead of print]

Liver Kinase B1 Fine-Tunes Lineage Commitment of Human Fetal Synovium-Derived Stem Cells.

Zhou S1,2, Fu Y3,4, Zhang XB3,4, Pei M1,2,5.

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Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedics, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, 26506.
Department of Sports Medicine and Adult Reconstructive Surgery, Drum Tower Hospital, School of Medicine, Nanjing University, 321 Zhongshan Road, Nanjing, 210008, Jiangsu, China.
State Key Laboratory of Experimental Hematology, Institute of Hematology and Blood Disease Hospital Huyuan Division, Tianjin, 300020, China.
Department of Medicine, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, 92350.
Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, WVU Cancer Institute, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, 26506.


Liver kinase B1 (LKB1), a serine/threonine protein, is a key regulator in stem cell function and energy metabolism. Herein, we describe the role of LKB1 in modulating the differentiation of synovium-derived stem cells (SDSCs) toward chondrogenic, adipogenic, and osteogenic lineages. Human fetal SDSCs were transduced with CRISPR associated protein 9 (Cas9)-single-guide RNA vectors to knockout or lentiviral vectors to overexpress the LKB1 gene. Analyses including ICE (Inference of CRISPR Edits) data from Sanger sequencing and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) as well as Western blot demonstrated successful knockout (KO) or overexpression (OE) of LKB1 in human fetal SDSCs without any detectable side effects in morphology, proliferation rate, and cell cycle. LKB1 KO increased CD146 expression; interestingly, LKB1 OE increased SSEA4 level. The qPCR data showed that LKB1 KO upregulated the levels of SOX2 and NANOG while LKB1 OE lowered the expression of POU5F1 and KLF4. Furthermore, LKB1 KO enhanced, and LKB1 OE inhibited, chondrogenic and adipogenic differentiation potential. However, perhaps due to the inherent inability to achieve osteogenesis, LKB1 did not obviously affect osteogenic differentiation. These data demonstrate that LKB1 plays a significant role in determining human SDSCs' adipogenic and chondrogenic differentiation, which might provide an approach for fine-tuning the direction of stem cell differentiation in tissue engineering and regeneration. © 2019 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res.


CRISPR-Cas9; adipogenesis; chondrogenesis; lentivirus; liver kinase B1; synovium-derived stem cell


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