Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) is a rare and intractable disease characterized by extraskeletal bone formation through endochondral ossification. Patients with FOP harbor point mutations in ACVR1, a type I receptor for BMPs. Although mutated ACVR1 (FOP-ACVR1) has been shown to render hyperactivity in BMP signaling, we and others have uncovered a mechanism by which FOP-ACVR1 mistransduces BMP signaling in response to Activin-A, a molecule that normally transduces TGF-β signaling. Although Activin-A evokes enhanced chondrogenesis in vitro and heterotopic ossification (HO) in vivo, the underlying mechanisms have yet to be revealed. To this end, we developed a high-throughput screening (HTS) system using FOP patient–derived induced pluripotent stem cells (FOP-iPSCs) to identify pivotal pathways in enhanced chondrogenesis that are initiated by Activin-A. In a screen of 6,809 small-molecule compounds, we identified mTOR signaling as a critical pathway for the aberrant chondrogenesis of mesenchymal stromal cells derived from FOP-iPSCs (FOP-iMSCs). Two different HO mouse models, an FOP model mouse expressing FOP-ACVR1 and an FOP-iPSC–based HO model mouse, revealed critical roles for mTOR signaling in vivo. Moreover, we identified ENPP2, an enzyme that generates lysophosphatidic acid, as a linker of FOP-ACVR1 and mTOR signaling in chondrogenesis. These results uncovered the crucial role of the Activin-A/FOP-ACVR1/ENPP2/mTOR axis in FOP pathogenesis.
Kyosuke Hino, Kazuhiko Horigome, Megumi Nishio, Shingo Komura, Sanae Nagata, Chengzhu Zhao, Yonghui Jin, Koichi Kawakami, Yasuhiro Yamada, Akira Ohta, Junya Toguchida, Makoto Ikeya
mTOR inhibitors suppress the chondrogenic induction of FOP-iMSCs triggered by Activin-A.