Suppression of Nkx3.2 by phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase signaling regulates cartilage development by modulating chondrocyte hypertrophy
Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) is a key regulator of diverse biological processes including cell proliferation, migration, survival, and differentiation. While a role of PI3K in chondrocyte differentiation has been suggested, its precise mechanisms of action are poorly understood. Here we show that PI3K signaling can down-regulate Nkx3.2 at both mRNA and protein levels in various chondrocyte cultures in vitro. In addition, we have intriguingly found that p85β, not p85α, is specifically employed as a regulatory subunit for PI3K-mediated Nkx3.2 suppression. Furthermore, we found that regulation of Nkx3.2 by PI3K requires Rac1-PAK1, but not Akt, signaling downstream of PI3K. Finally, using embryonic limb bud cultures, ex vivo long bone cultures, and p85β knockout mice, we demonstrated that PI3K-mediated suppression of Nkx3.2 in chondrocytes plays a role in the control of cartilage hypertrophy during skeletal development in vertebrates.