Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

MicroRNA miR-378 promotes BMP2-induced osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal progenitor cells

Marlinda Hupkes1*, Ana M Sotoca1, José M Hendriks1, Everardus J van Zoelen1 and Koen J Dechering123

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Cell & Applied Biology, Faculty of Science, Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences (NCMLS), Radboud University Nijmegen, Heyendaalseweg 135, 6525 AJ, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

2 Merck Research Laboratories, PO Box 20, 5340 BH, Oss, The Netherlands

3 Current affiliation: TropIQ Health Sciences, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Molecular Biology 2014, 15:1  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-15-1

Published: 27 January 2014



MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a family of small, non-coding single-stranded RNA molecules involved in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. As such, they are believed to play a role in regulating the step-wise changes in gene expression patterns that occur during cell fate specification of multipotent stem cells. Here, we have studied whether terminal differentiation of C2C12 myoblasts is indeed controlled by lineage-specific changes in miRNA expression.


Using a previously generated RNA polymerase II (Pol-II) ChIP-on-chip dataset, we show differential Pol-II occupancy at the promoter regions of six miRNAs during C2C12 myogenic versus BMP2-induced osteogenic differentiation. Overexpression of one of these miRNAs, miR-378, enhances Alp activity, calcium deposition and mRNA expression of osteogenic marker genes in the presence of BMP2.


Our results demonstrate a previously unknown role for miR-378 in promoting BMP2-induced osteogenic differentiation.