Meflin defines mesenchymal stem cells and/or their early progenitors with multilineage differentiation capacity

Akitoshi Hara, Katsuhiro Kato, Toshikazu Ishihara, Hiroki Kobayashi, Naoya Asai, Shinji Mii, Yukihiro Shiraki, Yuki Miyai, Ryota Ando, Yasuyuki Mizutani, Tadashi Iida, Mikito Takefuji, Toyoaki Murohara, Masahide Takahashi, Atsushi Enomoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are the likely precursors of multiple lines of mesenchymal cells. The existence of bona fide MSCs with self-renewal capacity and differentiation potential into all mesenchymal lineages, however, has been unclear because of the lack of MSC-specific marker(s) that are not expressed by the terminally differentiated progeny. Meflin, a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored protein, is an MSC marker candidate that is specifically expressed in rare stromal cells in all tissues. Our previous report showed that Meflin expression becomes down-regulated in bone marrow-derived MSCs cultured on plastic, making it difficult to examine the self-renewal and differentiation of Meflin-positive cells at the single-cell level. Here, we traced the lineage of Meflin-positive cells in postnatal and adult mice, showing that those cells differentiated into white and brown adipocytes, osteocytes, chondrocytes and skeletal myocytes. Interestingly, cells derived from Meflin-positive cells formed clusters of differentiated cells, implying the in situ proliferation of Meflin-positive cells or their lineage-committed progenitors. These results, taken together with previous findings that Meflin expression in cultured MSCs was lost upon their multilineage differentiation, suggest that Meflin is a useful potential marker to localize MSCs and/or their immature progenitors in multiple tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-512
Number of pages18
JournalGenes to Cells
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 07-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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