TAZ, a transcriptional modulator of mesenchymal stem cell differentiation

Jeong Ho Hong, Eun Sook Hwang, Michael T. McManus, Adam Amsterdam, Yu Tian, Ralitsa Kalmukova, Elisabetta Mueller, Thomas Benjamin, Bruce M. Spiegelman, Phillip A. Sharp, Nancy Hopkins, Michael B. Yaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

803 Scopus citations


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a pluripotent cell type that can differentiate into several distinct lineages. Two key transcription factors, Runx2 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), drive MSCs to differentiate into either osteoblasts or adipocytes, respectively. How these two transcription factors are regulated in order to specify these alternate cell fates remains a pivotal question. Here we report that a 14-3-3-binding protein, TAZ (transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif), coactivates Runx2-dependent gene transcription while repressing PPARγ-dependent gene transcription. By modulating TAZ expression in model cell lines, mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and primary MSCs in culture and in zebrafish in vivo, we observed alterations in osteogenic versus adipogenic potential. These results indicate that TAZ functions as a molecular rheostat that modulates MSC differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1074-1078
Number of pages5
Issue number5737
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2005


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