Insights into the role of focal adhesion modulation in myogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells

Stem Cells Dev. 2013 Jan 1;22(1):136-47. doi: 10.1089/scd.2012.0160. Epub 2012 Aug 16.


We report the establishment of a novel platform to induce myogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) via focal adhesion (FA) modulation, giving insights into the role of FA on stem cell differentiation. Micropatterning of collagen type I on a polyacrylamide gel with a stiffness of 10.2 kPa efficiently modulated elongated FA. This elongated FA profile preferentially recruited the β(3) integrin cluster and induced specific myogenic differentiation at both transcription and translation levels with expression of myosin heavy chain and α-sarcomeric actin. This was initiated with elongation of FA complexes that triggered the RhoA downstream signaling toward a myogenic lineage commitment. This study also illustrates how one could partially control myogenic differentiation outcomes of similar-shaped hMSCs by modulating FA morphology and distribution. This technology increases our toolkit choice for controlled differentiation in muscle engineering.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Antigens, Differentiation / genetics
  • Antigens, Differentiation / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Shape
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Focal Adhesions / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Integrin beta3 / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Muscle Development
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Myosin-Light-Chain Kinase / metabolism
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Sarcomeres / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • Integrin beta3
  • RHOA protein, human
  • Myosin-Light-Chain Kinase
  • Myosin Heavy Chains
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein