Proline/arginine-rich end leucine-rich repeat protein converts stem cells to ligament tissue and Zn(II) influences its nuclear expression

Michiyo Tsuru, Takashi Soejima, Naoto Shiba, Kimiko Kimura, Kimiaki Sato, Yoshiaki Toyama, Kensei Nagata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Our objective was to facilitate ligament tissue reconstruction by characterizing the mechanism of expression of ligament tissue. To accomplish this, we searched for proteins specific to the tissue and introduced them into mesenchymal stem cells. In the two-dimensional phosphorescent gel electrophoresis, the spots in common with the normal human ligament tissue were selected after removing the spots of the normal bone tissue from those of the ossified tissue in the spinal ligament. Proline/arginine-rich end leucine-rich repeat protein (PRELP) was identified in ligament-specific locations by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Transfection of PRELP into mouse mesenchymal stem cells yielded ligament-like connective tissue comprised of parallel fibers. Thus, expression of the PRELP protein could reconstruct the ligament tissue. Since zinc-related proteins were found with high incidence as a result of an array analysis of PRELP's ProtoArray, it was considered that there is a relationship to the zinc metabolism. Tissue induction was mediated by the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α via the zinc pathway. PRELP may be a useful gene in syndesmoplasty, provided zinc is present for tissue reconstruction. Chromosome division becomes active with the addition of zinc, and rapid tissue induction takes place in the presence of zinc and TNF-α. Currently, the reconstruction of a ruptured ligament tissue is difficult, but we expect that the PRELP protein expression may facilitate this process. This study describes the discovery of the gene responsible for the differentiation of stem cells into ligament tissue. This important finding may lead to treatments for gonarthrosis, cruciate ligament, and periodontal ligament ruptures, and ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2057-2070
Number of pages14
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jul 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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