Background/purpose: Actin alpha 2, smooth muscle (ACTA2) is an actin isoform that forms the cytoskeleton. Actin plays a crucial role in numerous cellular functions. ACTA2 is a marker of functional periodontal ligament (PDL) fibroblasts and is upregulated by transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1); however, the underlying function of ACTA2 in PDL tissue is unknown. We aimed to examine the localization and potential function of ACTA2 in PDL tissues and cells. Materials and methods: RNA expression was determined using semi-quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and quantitative RT-PCR. Protein expression was determined using immunofluorescence staining and Western blot analysis. Soluble and insoluble collagen production was examined using the Sircol collagen assay and picrosirius red staining, respectively. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) was used for knockdown assay to examine the effect of ACTA2 in human PDL cells. Results: ACTA2 expression was observed in human primary PDL cells and PDL cell line (2–23 cells). TGF-β1 upregulated ACTA2, collagen type Ⅰ alpha1 chain (COL1A1), periostin (POSTN), and fibrillin-Ⅰ(FBN1) expression and soluble and insoluble collagen production in 2–23 cells. However, ACTA2 depletion by siRNA strongly suppressed PDL-related gene expression and collagen production compared with those of TGF-β1–stimulated control cells. Furthermore, ACTA2 knockdown significantly suppressed the phosphorylation of Smad2 and Smad3. Conclusion: ACTA2 plays a crucial role in PDL-related marker expression and collagen production via Smad2/3 phosphorylation. Our findings might contribute to the development of novel and effective periodontal therapies.
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