Background: Mesangial cells play an important role in the glomerulus to provide mechanical support and maintaine efficient ultrafiltration of renal plasma. Loss of mesangial cells due to pathologic conditions may lead to impaired renal function. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can differentiate into many cell types, including mesangial cells. However transcriptomic profiling during MSC differentiation into mesangial cells had not been studied yet. The aim of this study is to examine the pattern of transcriptomic changes during MSC differentiation into mesangial cells, to understand the involvement of transcription factor (TF) along the differentiation process, and finally to elucidate the relationship among TF-TF and TF-key gene or biomarkers during the differentiation of MSC into mesangial cells. Results: Several ascending and descending monotonic key genes were identified by Monotonic Feature Selector. The identified descending monotonic key genes are related to stemness or regulation of cell cycle while ascending monotonic key genes are associated with the functions of mesangial cells. The TFs were arranged in a co-expression network in order of time by Time-Ordered Gene Co-expression Network (TO-GCN) analysis. TO-GCN analysis can classify the differentiation process into three stages: differentiation preparation, differentiation initiation and maturation. Furthermore, it can also explore TF-TF-key genes regulatory relationships in the muscle contraction process. Conclusions: A systematic analysis for transcriptomic profiling of MSC differentiation into mesangial cells has been established. Key genes or biomarkers, TFs and pathways involved in differentiation of MSC-mesangial cells have been identified and the related biological implications have been discussed. Finally, we further elucidated for the first time the three main stages of mesangial cell differentiation, and the regulatory relationships between TF-TF-key genes involved in the muscle contraction process. Through this study, we have increased fundamental understanding of the gene transcripts during the differentiation of MSC into mesangial cells.
- Mesangial cell
- Mesenchymal stem cell
- Monotonic feature selector
- Time-ordered gene co-expression network