Mechano-growth factor protects against mechanical overload induced damage and promotes migration of growth plate chondrocytes through RhoA/YAP pathway

Exp Cell Res. 2018 May 15;366(2):81-91. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2018.02.021. Epub 2018 Feb 20.


Epiphyseal growth plate is highly dynamic tissue which is controlled by a variety of endocrine, paracrine hormones, and by complex local signaling loops and mechanical loading. Mechano growth factor (MGF), the splice variant of the IGF-I gene, has been discovered to play important roles in tissue growth and repair. However, the effect of MGF on the growth plate remains unclear. In the present study, we found that MGF mRNA expression of growth plate chondrocytes was upregulated in response to mechanical stimuli. Treatment of MGF had no effect on growth plate chondrocytes proliferation and differentiation. But it could inhibit growth plate chondrocytes apoptosis and inflammation under mechanical overload. Moreover, both wound healing and transwell assay indicated that MGF could significantly enhance growth plate chondrocytes migration which was accompanied with YAP activation and nucleus translocation. Knockdown of YAP with YAP siRNA suppressed migration induced by MGF, indicating the essential role of YAP in MGF promoting growth plate chondrocytes migration. Furthermore, MGF promoted YAP activation through RhoA GTPase mediated cytoskeleton reorganization, RhoA inhibition using C3 toxin abrogated MGF induced YAP activation. Importantly, we found that MGF promoted focal adhesion(FA) formation and knockdown of YAP with YAP siRNA partially suppressed the activation of FA kinase, implying that YAP is associated with FA formation. In conclusion, MGF is an autocrine growth factor which is regulated by mechanical stimuli. MGF could not only protect growth plate chondrocytes against damage by mechanical overload, but also promote migration through activation of RhoA/YAP signaling axis. Most importantly, our findings indicate that MGF promote cell migration through YAP mediated FA formation to determine the FA-cytoskeleton remodeling.

Keywords: Cytoskeleton; Focal adhesion; Mechano-growth factor; Migration; RhoA/YAP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrocytes / drug effects*
  • Chondrocytes / pathology
  • Growth Plate / drug effects*
  • Growth Plate / pathology
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / pharmacology*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stress, Mechanical*
  • YAP-Signaling Proteins
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism*


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Protective Agents
  • YAP-Signaling Proteins
  • Yap1 protein, rat
  • mechano-growth factor, rat
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein