Actomyosin and the MRTF-SRF pathway downregulate FGFR1 in mesenchymal stromal cells

Jip Zonderland, Silvia Rezzola, Lorenzo Moroni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Both biological and mechanical signals are known to influence cell proliferation. However, biological signals are mostly studied in two-dimensions (2D) and the interplay between these different pathways is largely unstudied. Here, we investigated the influence of the cell culture environment on the response to bFGF, a widely studied and important proliferation growth factor. We observed that human mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs), but not fibroblasts, lose the ability to respond to soluble or covalently bound bFGF when cultured on microfibrillar substrates. This behavior correlated with a downregulation of FGF receptor 1 (FGFR1) expression of hMSCs on microfibrillar substrates. Inhibition of actomyosin or the MRTF/SRF pathway decreased FGFR1 expression in hMSCs, fibroblasts and MG63 cells. To our knowledge, this is the first time FGFR1 expression is shown to be regulated through a mechanosensitive pathway in hMSCs. These results add to the sparse literature on FGFR1 regulation and potentially aid designing tissue engineering constructs that better control cell proliferation. Zonderland et al discover that fibroblasts and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) differ in their response to bFGF when grown on microfibrillar substrates. They find that MSCs cultured on this substrate leads to reduced FGFR levels, as does inhibition of actomyosin contractility or MRT/SRF, suggesting mechanosensitive control of FGFR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number576
Number of pages11
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2020



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