Feature Articles

Advanced Science (2023) Cyclic stretch promotes cellular reprogramming process through cytoskeletal-nuclear mechao-coupling...

Author :
Park SM, Lee JH*, Ahn GS,..., Shim H*, Kim HW* (2023-09-21)
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Advancing the technologies for cellular reprogramming with high efficiency has significant impact on regenerative therapy, disease modeling, and drug discovery. Biophysical cues can tune the cell fate, yet the precise role of external physical forces during reprogramming remains elusive. Here the authors show that temporal cyclic-stretching of fibroblasts significantly enhances the efficiency of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) production. Generated iPSCs are proven to express pluripotency markers and exhibit in vivo functionality. Bulk RNA-sequencing reveales that cyclic-stretching enhances biological characteristics required for pluripotency acquisition, including increased cell division and mesenchymal-epithelial transition. Of note, cyclic-stretching activates key mechanosensitive molecules (integrins, perinuclear actins, nesprin-2, and YAP), across the cytoskeletal-to-nuclear space. Furthermore, stretch-mediated cytoskeletal-nuclear mechano-coupling leads to altered epigenetic modifications, mainly downregulation in H3K9 methylation, and its global gene occupancy change, as revealed by genome-wide ChIP-sequencing and pharmacological inhibition tests. Single cell RNA-sequencing further identifies subcluster of mechano-responsive iPSCs and key epigenetic modifier in stretched cells. Collectively, cyclic-stretching activates iPSC reprogramming through mechanotransduction process and epigenetic changes accompanied by altered occupancy of mechanosensitive genes. This study highlights the strong link between external physical forces with subsequent mechanotransduction process and the epigenetic changes with expression of related genes in cellular reprogramming, holding substantial implications in the field of cell biology, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.