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Long non-coding RNA HoxA-AS3 interacts with EZH2 to regulate lineage commitment of mesenchymal stem cells


Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play an important role in gene regulation and are involving in diverse cellular processes. However, their roles in reprogramming of gene expression profiles during lineage commitment and maturation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) remain poorly understood. In the current study, we characterize the expression of a lncRNA, HoxA-AS3, during the differentiation of MSCs. We showed that HoxA-AS3 is increased upon adipogenic induction of MSCs, while HoxA-AS3 remains unaltered during osteogenic induction. Silencing of HoxA-AS3 in MSCs resulted in decreased adipogenesis and expression of adipogenic markers, PPARG, CEBPA, FABP4 and ADIPOQ. Conversely, knockdown of HoxA-AS3 expression in MSCs exhibited an enhanced osteogenesis and osteogenic markers expression, including RUNX2, SP7, COL1A1, IBSP, BGLAP and SPP1. Mechanistically, HoxA-AS3 interacts with Enhancer Of Zeste 2 (EZH2) and is required for H3 lysine-27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) of key osteogenic transcription factor Runx2. Our data reveal that HoxA-AS3 acts as an epigenetic switch that determines the lineage specification of MSC.

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