In vitro system for differentiating pluripotent neural crest cells into smooth muscle cells

Mukesh K. Jain, Matthew D. Layne, Masafumi Watanabe, Michael T. Chin, Mark W. Feinberg, Nicholas E.S. Sibinga, Chung Ming Hsieh, Shaw Fang Yet, Derek L. Stemple, Mu En Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


The change in vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) from a differentiated to a dedifferentiated state is the critical phenotypic response that promotes occlusive arteriosclerotic disease. Despite its importance, research into molecular mechanisms regulating smooth muscle differentiation has been hindered by the lack of an in vitro cell differentiation system. We identified culture conditions that promote efficient differentiation of Monc- 1 pluripotent neural crest cells into SMC. Exclusive Monc-1 to SMC differentiation was indicated by cellular morphology and time-dependent induction of the SMC markers smooth muscle α-actin, smooth muscle myosin heavy chain, calponin SM22α, and APEG-1. The activity of the SM22α promoter was low in Monc-1 cells. Differentiation of these cells into SMC caused a 20- 30-fold increase in the activity of the wild-type SM22α promoter and that of a hybrid promoter containing three copies of the CArG element. By gel mobility shift analysis, we identified new DNA-protein complexes in nuclear extracts prepared from differentiated Monc-1 cells. One of the new complexes contained serum response factor. This Monc-1 to SMC model should facilitate the identification of nodal regulators of smooth muscle development and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5993-5996
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 13 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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