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Title: Soft culture substrates favor stem-like cellular phenotype and facilitate reprogramming of human mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (hMSCs) through mechanotransduction
Authors: Gerardo, Heloísa 
Lima, Ana 
Carvalho, João 
Ramos, João R. D. 
Couceiro, Sofia
Travasso, Rui D. 
Neves, Ricardo Pires das 
Grãos, Mário 
Issue Date: 24-Jun-2019
Publisher: Springer Nature
Project: This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia) — FCT — grant FCT-UID/NEU/04539/2019 and by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF/FEDER) through the Operational Program Competitiveness Factors (Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade) — COMPETE — funding through Project ‘Stem cell based platforms for Regenerative and Therapeutic Medicine’, Centro-07-ST24-FEDER-002008. M.G. acknowledges funding by the ERDF/FEDER through COMPETE and by national funds by FCT through grant FCOMP-01–0124-FEDER-021150 - PTDC/ SAU-889 ENB/119292/2010 and grant POCI-01–0145-FEDER-029516, co-financed by the ERDF/FEDER under the framework Competitiveness and Internationalization Operational Program (Programa Operacional Competitividade e Internacionalização — POCI) and by national funds through FCT/‘Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior’ (FCT/MCTES) through the Portuguese State Budget. Grant PTDC/SAUENB/ 113696/2009 was attributed to R.P.N., and A.L. was recipient of the fellowship FCT - SFRH/BD/51942/2012 (all from FCT and co-financed by FEDER). R.D.M.T. and J.C. thank the support of FEDER funds through COMPETE and by national funds by FCT under the strategic project UID/FIS/04564/2016 and under POCI-01- 0145-FEDER-031743 - PTDC/BIA-CEL/31743/2017. R.D.M.T. acknowledges FCT’s support through the FCT Researcher Program. 
Serial title, monograph or event: Scientific Reports
Volume: 9
Issue: 1
Abstract: Biophysical cues influence many aspects of cell behavior. Stiffness of the extracellular matrix is probed by cells and transduced into biochemical signals through mechanotransduction protein networks, strongly influencing stem cell behavior. Cellular stemness is intimately related with mechanical properties of the cell, like intracellular contractility and stiffness, which in turn are influenced by the microenvironment. Pluripotency is associated with soft and low-contractility cells. Hence, we postulated that soft cell culture substrates, presumably inducing low cellular contractility and stiffness, increase the reprogramming efficiency of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). We demonstrate that soft substrates (1.5 or 15 kPa polydimethylsiloxane - PDMS) caused modulation of several cellular features of MSCs into a phenotype closer to pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). MSCs cultured on soft substrates presented more relaxed nuclei, lower maturation of focal adhesions and F-actin assembling, more euchromatic and less heterochromatic nuclear DNA regions, and increased expression of pluripotency-related genes. These changes correlate with the reprogramming of MSCs, with a positive impact on the kinetics, robustness of colony formation and reprogramming efficiency. Additionally, substrate stiffness influences several phenotypic features of iPS cells and colonies, and data indicates that soft substrates favor full iPSC reprogramming.
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-45352-3
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:IIIUC - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais
I&D CFis - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais
I&D CNC - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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