Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(15):4238-4253. doi:10.7150/ijbs.60536 This issue

Research Paper

Mir24-2-5p suppresses the osteogenic differentiation with Gnai3 inhibition presenting a direct target via inactivating JNK-p38 MAPK signaling axis

Li Meng1, Lichan Yuan1, Jieli Ni1,2, Mengru Fang1,2, Shuyu Guo1,2, Huayang Cai1, Jinwei Qin1,2, Qi Cai3, Mengnan Zhang2, Fang Hu1,2, Junqing Ma1,2, Yang Zhang1,2✉

1. Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China.
2. Department of Orthodontics, Affiliated Hospital of Stomatology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 210029, China.
3. Department of Stomatology, Changhai Hospital, Navy Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( See for full terms and conditions.
Meng L, Yuan L, Ni J, Fang M, Guo S, Cai H, Qin J, Cai Q, Zhang M, Hu F, Ma J, Zhang Y. Mir24-2-5p suppresses the osteogenic differentiation with Gnai3 inhibition presenting a direct target via inactivating JNK-p38 MAPK signaling axis. Int J Biol Sci 2021; 17(15):4238-4253. doi:10.7150/ijbs.60536. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Background: Congenital anomalies are increasingly becoming a global pediatric health concern, which requires immediate attention to its early diagnosis, preventive strategies, and efficient treatments. Guanine nucleotide binding protein, alpha inhibiting activity polypeptide 3 (Gnai3) gene mutation has been demonstrated to cause congenital small jaw deformity, but the functions of Gnai3 in the disease-specific microRNA (miRNA) upregulations and their downstream signaling pathways during osteogenesis have not yet been reported. Our previous studies found that the expression of Mir24-2-5p was significantly downregulated in the serum of young people with overgrowing mandibular, and bioinformatics analysis suggested possible binding sites of Mir24-2-5p in the Gnai3 3'UTR region. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate the mechanism of Mir24-2-5p-mediated regulation of Gnai3 gene expression and explore the possibility of potential treatment strategies for bone defects.

Methods: Synthetic miRNA mimics and inhibitors were transduced into osteoblast precursor cells to regulate Mir24-2-5p expression. Dual-luciferase reporter assay was utilized to identify the direct binding of Gnai3 and its regulator Mir24-2-5p. Gnai3 levels in osteoblast precursor cells were downregulated by shRNA (shGnai3). Agomir, Morpholino Oligo (MO), and mRNA were microinjected into zebrafish embryos to control mir24-2-5p and gnai3 expression. Relevant expression levels were determined by the qRT-PCR and Western blotting. CCK-8 assay, flow cytometry, and transwell migration assays were performed to assess cell proliferation, apoptosis, and migration. ALP, ARS and Von Kossa staining were performed to observe osteogenic differentiation. Alcian blue staining and calcein immersions were performed to evaluate the embryonic development and calcification of zebrafish.

Results: The expression of Mir24-2-5p was reduced throughout the mineralization process of osteoblast precursor cells. miRNA inhibitors and mimics were transfected into osteoblast precursor cells. Cell proliferation, migration, osteogenic differentiation, and mineralization processes were measured, which showed a reverse correlation with the expression of Mir24-2-5p. Dual-luciferase reporter gene detection assay confirmed the direct interaction between Mir24-2-5p and Gnai3 mRNA. Moreover, in osteoblast precursor cells treated with Mir24-2-5p inhibitor, the expression of Gnai3 gene was increased, suggesting that Mir24-2-5p negatively targeted Gnai3. Silencing of Gnai3 inhibited osteoblast precursor cells proliferation, migration, osteogenic differentiation, and mineralization. Promoting effects of osteoblast precursor cells proliferation, migration, osteogenic differentiation, and mineralization by low expression of Mir24-2-5p was partially rescued upon silencing of Gnai3. In vivo, mir24-2-5p Agomir microinjection into zebrafish embryo resulted in shorter body length, smaller and retruded mandible, decreased cartilage development, and vertebral calcification, which was partially rescued by microinjecting gnai3 mRNA. Notably, quite similar phenotypic outcomes were observed in gnai3 MO embryos, which were also partially rescued by mir24-2-5p MO. Besides, the expression of phospho-JNK (p-JNK) and p-p38 were increased upon Mir24-2-5p inhibitor treatment and decreased upon shGnai3-mediated Gnai3 downregulation in osteoblast precursor cells. Osteogenic differentiation and mineralization abilities of shGnai3-treated osteoblast precursor cells were promoted by p-JNK and p-p38 pathway activators, suggesting that Gnai3 might regulate the differentiation and mineralization processes in osteoblast precursor cells through the MAPK signaling pathway.

Conclusions: In this study, we investigated the regulatory mechanism of Mir24-2-5p on Gnai3 expression regulation in osteoblast precursor cells and provided a new idea of improving the prevention and treatment strategies for congenital mandibular defects and mandibular protrusion.

Keywords: Craniofacial deformity, Osteogenic differentiation, MicroRNA, G protein family, Gene expression regulation