Modulation of microenvironment for controlling the fate of periodontal ligament cells: the role of Rho/ROCK signaling and cytoskeletal dynamics

Tadashi Yamamoto, Yuki Ugawa, Mari Kawamura, Keisuke Yamashiro, Shinsuke Kochi, Hidetaka Ideguchi, Shogo Takashiba

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Cells behave in a variety of ways when they perceive changes in their microenvironment; the behavior of cells is guided by their coordinated interactions with growth factors, niche cells, and extracellular matrix (ECM). Modulation of the microenvironment affects the cell morphology and multiple gene expressions. Rho/Rho-associated coiled-coil-containing protein kinase (ROCK) signaling is one of the key regulators of cytoskeletal dynamics and actively and/or passively determines the cell fate, such as proliferation, migration, differentiation, and apoptosis, by reciprocal communication with the microenvironment. During periodontal wound healing, it is important to recruit the residential stem cells into the defect site for regeneration and homeostasis of the periodontal tissue. Periodontal ligament (PDL) cells contain a heterogeneous fibroblast population, including mesenchymal stem cells, and contribute to the reconstruction of tooth-supporting tissues. Therefore, bio-regeneration of PDL cells has been the ultimate goal of periodontal therapy for decades. Recent stem cell researches have shed light on intrinsic ECM properties, providing paradigm shifts in cell fate determination. This review focuses on the role of ROCK activity and the effects of Y-27632, a specific inhibitor of ROCK, in the modulation of ECM-microenvironment. Further, it presents the current understanding of how Rho/ROCK signaling affects the fate determination of stem cells, especially PDL cells. In addition, we have also discussed in detail the underlying mechanisms behind the reciprocal response to the microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-378
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Communication and Signaling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Microenvironment
  • Periodontal ligament cells
  • Rho-associated coiled-coil-containing protein kinase
  • Stem cell fate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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