Focal adhesions (FAs) undergo maturation that culminates in size and composition changes that modulate adhesion, cytoskeleton remodeling and differentiation. Although it is well recognized that stimuli for osteogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) drive FA maturation, actin organization and stress fiber polarization, the extent to which FA-mediated signals regulated by the FA protein composition specifies MSC commitment remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that, upon dexamethasone (osteogenic induction) treatment, guanine nucleotide exchange factor H1 (GEF-H1, also known as Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor 2, encoded by ARHGEF2) is significantly enriched in FAs. Perturbation of GEF-H1 inhibits FA formation, anisotropic stress fiber orientation and MSC osteogenesis in an actomyosin-contractility-independent manner. To determine the role of GEF-H1 in MSC osteogenesis, we explore the GEF-H1-modulated FA proteome that reveals non-muscle myosin-II heavy chain-B (NMIIB, also known as myosin-10, encoded by MYH10) as a target of GEF-H1 in FAs. Inhibition of targeting NMIIB into FAs suppresses FA formation, stress fiber polarization, cell stiffness and osteogenic commitments in MSCs. Our data demonstrate a role for FA signaling in specifying MSC commitment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology