The topographical environment, which mimics the stem cell niche, provides mechanical cues to regulate the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC). Diverse topographical variations have been engineered to investigate cellular responses; however, the types of mechanical parameters that affect cells, and their underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. In this study, we screened nanotopological pillars with size gradient to activate transcriptional coactivator with PDZ binding motif (TAZ), which stimulates osteogenesis of MSC. We observed that a nanotopological plate, 70 nm in diameter, significantly induces osteogenic differentiation with the activation of TAZ. TAZ activation via the nanotopological plate was mediated by actin polymerization and Rho signaling, as evidenced by the cytosolic localization of TAZ under F-actin or Rho kinase inhibitor. The FAK and MAPK pathways also play a role in TAZ activation by the nanotopological plate because the inhibitor of ERK and JNK blocked nanopattern plate induced osteogenic differentiation. Taken together, these results indicate that nanotopology regulates cell differentiation through TAZ activation.
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