G protein-coupled receptor kinase 3 modulates mesenchymal stem cell proliferation and differentiation through sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor regulation

Jaime M. Brozowski, Roman G. Timoshchenko, D. Stephen Serafin, Brittney Allyn, Jessica Koontz, Emily M. Rabjohns, Rishi R. Rampersad, Yinshi Ren, Amanda M. Eudy, Taylor F. Harris, David Abraham, Daniel Mattox, Clinton T. Rubin, Matthew J. Hilton, Janet Rubin, Nancy L. Allbritton, Matthew J. Billard, Teresa K. Tarrant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The bone marrow niche supports hematopoietic cell development through intimate contact with multipotent stromal mesenchymal stem cells; however, the intracellular signaling, function, and regulation of such supportive niche cells are still being defined. Our study was designed to understand how G protein receptor kinase 3 (GRK3) affects bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell function by examining primary cells from GRK3-deficient mice, which we have previously published to have a hypercellular bone marrow and leukocytosis through negative regulation of CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling. Methods: Murine GRK3-deficient bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells were harvested and cultured to differentiate into three lineages (adipocyte, chondrocyte, and osteoblast) to confirm multipotency and compared to wild type cells. Immunoblotting, modified-TANGO experiments, and flow cytometry were used to further examine the effects of GRK3 deficiency on bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cell receptor signaling. Microcomputed tomography was used to determine trabecular and cortical bone composition of GRK3-deficient mice and standard ELISA to quantitate CXCL12 production from cellular cultures. Results: GRK3-deficient, bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells exhibit enhanced and earlier osteogenic differentiation in vitro. The addition of a sphingosine kinase inhibitor abrogated the osteogenic proliferation and differentiation, suggesting that sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor signaling was a putative G protein-coupled receptor regulated by GRK3. Immunoblotting showed prolonged ERK1/2 signaling after stimulation with sphingosine-1-phosphate in GRK3-deficient cells, and modified-TANGO assays suggested the involvement of β-arrestin-2 in sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor internalization. Conclusions: Our work suggests that GRK3 regulates sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor signaling on bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells by recruiting β-arrestin to the occupied GPCR to promote internalization, and lack of such regulation affects mesenchymal stem cell functionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number37
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells
  • G protein-coupled receptor kinase 3 (GRK3)
  • G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs)
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Osteogenic differentiation
  • Proliferation
  • Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P)
  • Sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor (S1PR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology


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