eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-Profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2021   Volume No 41 – pages 245-268

Title: Evaluation of BMP2/miRNA co-expression systems for potent therapeutic efficacy in bone-tissue regeneration

Authors: TK Brenner, K Posa-Markaryan, D Hercher, S Sperger, P Heimel, C Keibl, S Nürnberger, J Grillari, H Redl, A Hacobian

Address: Donaueschingenstrasse 13, 1200 Vienna, Austria.

E-mail: a.hacobian at

Abstract: Reconstruction of bone defects and compensation of deficient repair mechanisms represent important goals within the field of regenerative medicine and require novel safe strategies for translation into the clinic. A non-viral osteogenic gene therapeutic vector system (‘hybrid vectors’) was generated, combining an improved bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2) gene cassette and single pro-osteogenic microRNAs (miR-148b-3p, miR-20-5p, miR-590b-5p), driven by the U6 promoter. The vectors were tested in vitro for their osteogenic differentiation potential in C2C12 and C3H/10T1/2 cell lines, using BMP2 alone as control. After confirming BMP2 expression and miRNA transcription, increased osteogenic differentiation was observed by all hybrid vectors, but most consistently by BMP2/miR-590-5p, using alkaline phosphatase enzyme activity assays and osteogenic marker mRNA quantitation, including runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2), collagen type 1 (Col1a1) and osteocalcin. To visualise target mRNAs of the respective miRNAs, next generation sequencing was performed, confirming down-regulation of mRNA targets of the hybrid vectors. Since the hybrid vector consisting of BMP2 and miR-590-5p showed the largest increase in osteogenic differentiation in vitro, this was tested in a mouse ectopic-bone model. Mineralisation was more than with BMP2 alone.
      The present study showed hybrid vectors as a novel non-viral gene therapeutic plasmid system for combining therapeutic effects of recombinant protein expression and miRNA transcription that did not add to the burden of the translation machinery, while improving the therapeutic efficacies. In vivo proof-of-principle in the context of bone regeneration suggested that such hybrid vectors will be applicable in a wide array of gene therapeutic strategies.

Key Words: Gene therapy, bone morphogenetic protein 2, microRNA-590, microRNA-148b, microRNA-20a, microRNA, ectopic bone, hybrid vector.

Publication date: March 4th 2021

Article download: Pages 245-268 (PDF file)

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Video 1: CT-generated 3D reconstruction of mouse hind limbs 8 weeks after transfection with indicated plasmids.