Slug gene expression supports human osteoblast maturation

Elisabetta Lambertini, Gina Lisignoli, Elena Torreggiani, Cristina Manferdini, Elena Gabusi, Tiziana Franceschetti, Letizia Penolazzi, Roberto Gambari, Andrea Facchini, Roberta Piva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aims to define the function of Slug transcription factor in human normal osteoblasts (hOBs). To date, Slug is considered exclusively a marker of malignancy in bone tissue. Here, we identified, for the first time, a role for Slug in hOBs using a knockdown approach. We demonstrated that Slug is positively correlated with osteoblast markers, including Runx2, osteopontin, osteocalcin, Collagen type 1, Wnt/β-catenin signaling mediators, and mineral deposition. At the same time, Slug silencing potentiates the expression of Sox-9, a factor indispensable for chondrogenic development. These data, with the finding that Slug is in vivo recruited by the promoters of Runx2 and Sox-9 genes, suggest that, in hOBs, Slug may act both as positive and negative transcriptional regulator of Runx2 and Sox-9 genes, respectively. In summary, our results support the hypothesis that Slug functions as a novel regulator of osteoblast activity and may be considered a new factor required for osteoblast maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3641-3653
Number of pages13
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


  • Human osteoblasts
  • Runx2
  • Slug
  • Sox-9
  • Wnt signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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