Identification of osteogenic progenitor cell-targeted peptides that augment bone formation

Min Jiang, Ruiwu Liu, Lixian Liu, Alexander Kot, Xueping Liu, Wenwu Xiao, Junjing Jia, Yuanpei Li, Kit S. Lam, Wei Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Activation and migration of endogenous mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are critical for bone regeneration. Here, we report a combinational peptide screening strategy for rapid discovery of ligands that not only bind strongly to osteogenic progenitor cells (OPCs) but also stimulate osteogenic cell Akt signaling in those OPCs. Two lead compounds are discovered, YLL3 and YLL8, both of which increase osteoprogenitor osteogenic differentiation in vitro. When given to normal or osteopenic mice, the compounds increase mineral apposition rate, bone formation, bone mass, and bone strength, as well as expedite fracture repair through stimulated endogenous osteogenesis. When covalently conjugated to alendronate, YLLs acquire an additional function resulting in a “tri-functional” compound that: (i) binds to OPCs, (ii) targets bone, and (iii) induces “pro-survival” signal. These bone-targeted, osteogenic peptides are well suited for current tissue-specific therapeutic paradigms to augment the endogenous osteogenic cells for bone regeneration and the treatment of bone loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4278
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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