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Mechanoregulation of MSC Smooth Muscle Differentiation

Mechanical cues from the extracellular matrix (ECM) significantly influence the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Now, a new STEM CELLS article from Ling Guo (Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen, Guangdong, China) and Chuanyue Wu (University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA) describes a signaling axis comprising PINCH‐1 and Notch2 that senses ECM mechanical signals and regulates MSC differentiation into smooth muscle cells. Su et al. hope that their findings will advance our understanding of the fundamental mechanism by which the cellular mechanoenvironment regulates smooth muscle differentiation and lead to new approaches for smooth muscle tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.