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Rationale: Cartilage stem/progenitor cells (CSPC) are a promising cellular source to promote endogenous cartilage regeneration in osteoarthritis (OA). Our previous work indicates that ribosomal s6 kinase 3 (RSK-3) is a target of 4-aminobiphenyl, a chemical enhancing CSPC-mediated cartilage repair in OA. However, the primary function and mechanism of RSK-3 in CSPC-mediated cartilage pathobiology remain undefined. Methods: We systematically assessed the association of RSK-3 with OA in three mouse strains with varying susceptibility to OA (MRL/MpJ>CBA>STR/Ort), and also RSK-3-/- mice. Bioinformatic analysis was used to identify the possible mechanism of RSK-3 affecting CSPC, which was further verified in OA mice and CSPC with varying RSK-3 expression induced by chemicals or gene modification. Results: We demonstrated that the level of RSK-3 in cartilage was positively correlated with cartilage repair capacities in three mouse strains (MRL/MpJ>CBA>STR/Ort). Enhanced RSK-3 expression by 4-aminobiphenyl markedly attenuated cartilage injury in OA mice and inhibition or deficiency of RSK-3 expression, on the other hand, significantly aggravated cartilage damage. Transcriptional profiling of CSPC from mice suggested the potential role of RSK-3 in modulating cell proliferation. It was further shown that the in vivo and in vitro manipulation of the RSK-3 expression indeed affected the CSPC proliferation. Mechanistically, ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6) was activated by RSK-3 to accelerate CSPC growth. Conclusion: RSK-3 is identified as a key regulator to enhance cartilage repair, at least partly by regulating the functionality of the cartilage-resident stem/progenitor cells. © The author(s).


Shuai Zhang, Md Rana Hamid, Ting Wang, Jinqi Liao, Liru Wen, Yan Zhou, Pengfei Wei, Xuenong Zou, Gang Chen, Junhui Chen, Guangqian Zhou. RSK-3 promotes cartilage regeneration via interacting with rpS6 in cartilage stem/progenitor cells. Theranostics. 2020;10(15):6915-6927

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PMID: 32550912

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