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One of the earliest events during chondrogenesis is the formation of condensations, a necessary pre-requisite for subsequent differentiation of a chondrogenic phenotype. Members of the Fibronectin Lecucine Rich Transmembrane (FLRT) proteins have been shown to be involved in cell sorting and neurite outgrowth. Additionally, FLRT2 is highly expressed at putative sites of chondrogenic differentiation during craniofacial development. In this study, we demonstrate that FLRT2 plays a role in mediating cell proliferation and cell-cell interactions during early chondrogenesis. Clones of stable transfectants of a murine chondroprogenitor cell line, ATDC5, were established in which FLRT2 was knocked down or overexpressed. Cells in which FLRT2 was knocked down proliferated at a slower rate compared to control wild-type ATDC5 cells or those containing a non-coding shRNA. In addition, FLRT2 knockdown cells formed numerous lectin peanut agglutinin (PNA) stained aggregates and exhibited higher expression of the cell adhesion molecule, N-cadherin. In an in vitro wound healing assay, fewer FLRT2 knockdown cells appeared to migrate into the defect. Surprisingly, the FLRT2 knockdown cells demonstrated increased formation of Alcian blue-stainable extracellular matrix, suggesting that their reduced aggregate formation did not inhibit subsequent chondrogenic differentiation. The opposite trends were observed in ATDC5 clones that overexpressed FLRT2. Specifically, FLRT overexpressing cells proliferated faster, formed fewer PNA-positive aggregates, accumulated increased Alcian blue-positive matrix, and migrated faster to close a wound. Collectively, our findings provide evidence for a role of FLRT2 in enhancing cell proliferation and reducing intercellular adhesion during the early stages of chondrogenesis. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Y Xu, K Wei, W Kulyk, S-G Gong. FLRT2 promotes cellular proliferation and inhibits cell adhesion during chondrogenesis. Journal of cellular biochemistry. 2011 Nov;112(11):3440-8

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PMID: 21769912

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