The Casitas B lineage lymphoma (Cbl) mutant G306E enhances osteogenic differentiation in human mesenchymal stromal cells in part by decreased Cbl-mediated platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha and fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 ubiquitination.
Human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (hMSCs) have the capacity to differentiate into several cell types including osteoblasts and are therefore an important cell source for bone tissue regeneration. A crucial issue is to identify mechanisms that trigger hMSC osteoblast differentiation to promote osteogenic potential. Casitas B lineage lymphoma (Cbl) is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that ubiquitinates and targets several molecules for degradation. We hypothesized that attenuation of Cbl-mediated degradation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) may promote osteogenic differentiation in hMSCs. We show here that specific inhibition of Cbl interaction with RTKs using a Cbl mutant (G306E) promotes expression of osteoblast markers (Runx2, alkaline phosphatase, type 1 collagen, osteocalcin) and increases osteogenic differentiation in clonal bone marrow-derived hMSCs and primary hMSCs. Analysis of molecular mechanisms revealed that the Cbl mutant increased PDGF receptor α and FGF receptor 2 but not EGF receptor expression in hMSCs, resulting in increased ERK1/2 and PI3K signaling. Pharmacological inhibition of FGFR or PDGFR abrogated in vitro osteogenesis induced by the Cbl mutant. The data reveal that specific inhibition of Cbl interaction with RTKs promotes the osteogenic differentiation program in hMSCs in part by decreased Cbl-mediated PDGFRα and FGFR2 ubiquitination, providing a novel mechanistic approach targeting Cbl to promote the osteogenic capacity of hMSCs.