Plant Tissue Parenchyma and Vascular Bundles Selectively Regulate Stem Cell Mechanosensing and Differentiation

Kathryn Driscoll, Maya S. Butani, Kirstene A. Gultian, Abigail McSweeny, Jay M. Patel, Sebastián L. Vega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Plant tissues are plentiful, diverse, and due to convergent evolution are structurally similar to many animal tissues. Decellularized plant tissues feature microtopographies that resemble cancellous bone (porous parenchyma) and skeletal muscle (fibrous vascular bundles). However, the use of plant tissues as an inexpensive and abundant biomaterial for controlling stem cell behavior has not been widely explored. Methods: Celery plant tissues were cut cross-sectionally (porous parenchyma) or longitudinally (fibrous vascular bundles) and decellularized. Human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were then cultured atop plant tissues and confocal imaging of single cells was used to evaluate the early effects of microtopography on MSC adhesion, morphology, cytoskeletal alignment, Yes-associated protein (YAP) signaling, and downstream lineage commitment to osteogenic or myogenic phenotypes. Results: Microtopography was conserved post plant tissue decellularization and MSCs attached and proliferated on plant tissues. MSCs cultured on porous parenchyma spread isotropically along the periphery of plant tissue pores. In contrast, MSCs cultured on vascular bundles spread anisotropically and aligned in the direction of fibrous vascular bundles. Differences in microtopography also influenced MSC nuclear YAP localization and actin anisotropy, with higher values observed on fibrous tissues. When exposed to osteogenic or myogenic culture medium, MSCs on porous parenchyma had a higher percentage of cells stain positive for bone biomarker alkaline phosphatase, whereas myoblast determination protein 1 (MyoD) was significantly upregulated for MSCs on fibrous vascular bundles. Conclusions: Together, these results show that plant tissues are an abundant biomaterial with defined microarchitecture that can reproducibly regulate MSC morphology, mechanosensing, and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-450
Number of pages12
JournalCellular and Molecular Bioengineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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