Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol:100 issue:6 pages:3305-10
Single human bone marrow-derived mesodermal progenitor cells (MPCs) differentiate into osteoblasts, chondrocytes, adipocytes, myocytes, and endothelial cells. To identify genes involved in the commitment of MPCs to osteoblasts we examined the expressed gene profile of undifferentiated MPCs and MPCs induced to the osteoblast lineage for 1-7 days by cDNA microarray analysis. As expected, growth factor, hormone, and signaling pathway genes known to be involved in osteogenesis were activated during differentiation. In addition, 41 transcription factors (TFs) were differentially expressed over time, including TFs with known roles in osteoblast differentiation and TFs not known to be involved in osteoblast differentiation. As the latter group of TFs coclustered with osteogenesis-specific TFs, they may play a role in osteoblast differentiation. When we compared the gene expression profile of MPCs induced to differentiate to chondroblasts and osteoblasts, significant differences in the nature and/or timing of gene activation were seen. These studies indicate that in vitro differentiation cultures in which MPCs are induced to one of multiple cell fates should be very useful for defining signals important for lineage-specific differentiation.