H19 activates Wnt signaling and promotes osteoblast differentiation by functioning as a competing endogenous RNA.

Research paper by Wei-Cheng WC Liang, Wei-Ming WM Fu, Yu-Bing YB Wang, Yu-Xin YX Sun, Liang-Liang LL Xu, Cheuk-Wa CW Wong, Kai-Ming KM Chan, Gang G Li, Mary Miu-Yee MM Waye, Jin-Fang JF Zhang

Indexed on: 09 Feb '16Published on: 09 Feb '16Published in: Scientific Reports


Bone homeostasis is tightly orchestrated and maintained by the balance between osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Recent studies have greatly expanded our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cellular differentiation. However, the functional roles of non-coding RNAs particularly lncRNAs in remodeling bone architecture remain elusive. In our study, lncRNA H19 was found to be upregulated during osteogenesis in hMSCs. Stable expression of H19 significantly accelerated in vivo and in vitro osteoblast differentiation. Meanwhile, by using bioinformatic investigations and RIP assays combined with luciferase reporter assays, we demonstrated that H19 functioned as an miRNA sponge for miR-141 and miR-22, both of which were negative regulators of osteogenesis and Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Further investigations revealed that H19 antagonized the functions of these two miRNAs and led to de-repression of their shared target gene β-catenin, which eventually activated Wnt/β-catenin pathway and hence potentiated osteogenesis. In addition, we also identified a novel regulatory feedback loop between H19 and its encoded miR-675-5p. And miR-675-5p was found to directly target H19 and counteracted osteoblast differentiation. To sum up, these observations indicate that the lncRNA H19 modulates Wnt/β-catenin pathway by acting as a competing endogenous RNA, which may shed light on the functional role of lncRNAs in coordinating osteogenesis.