The implantation of autologous chondrocytes is a therapeutic treatment for articular cartilage damage. However, the benefits are limited due to the expansion of chondrocytes in monolayer culture, which causes loss of chondrocytic characters. Therefore, culture conditions that enhance chondrocytic characters are needed. We screened 5822 compounds and found that A-674563 enhanced the transcription of several chondrocyte marker genes, including Col2a1, Acan and Col11a2, in mouse primary chondrocytes. Experiments using cycloheximide, MG132 and bafilomycin A1 have revealed that Sox9 is degraded through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and that A-674563 inhibits this degradation, resulting in larger amount of Sox9 protein. RNA sequencing transcriptome analysis showed that A-674563 increases the expression of the gene that encodes ubiquitin-specific peptidase 29, which is known to induce the deubiquitination of proteins. Although the precise mechanism remains to be determined, our findings indicated that A-674563 could contribute to culture conditions that expand chondrocytes without losing chondrocytic characters.
Keywords: Autologous chondrocyte implantation; Chondrocytes; Protein degradation; Sox9; Usp29.
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