Postnatal muscle growth and repair is supported by satellite cells - myogenic progenitors positioned between the myofiber basal lamina and plasma membrane. In adult muscles, satellite cells are quiescent but become activated and contribute differentiated progeny when myofiber repair is needed. The development of cells expressing osteogenic and adipogenic genes alongside myoblasts in myofiber cultures, raised the hypothesis that satellite cells possess mesenchymal plasticity. Clonal studies of myofiber-associated cells further suggested that satellite cell myogeneity and diversion into Mesencymal Alternative Differentiation (MAD) occur in vitro by a stochastic mechanism. However, in vivo this potential may be executed only when myogenic signals are impaired and the muscle tissue is compromised. Such a mechanism may contribute to the increased adipocity of aging muscles. Alternatively, it is possible that mesenchymal interstitial cells (sometimes co-isolated with myofibers), rather than satellite cells, account for the nonmyogenic cells observed in myogenic cultures. Herein, we first elaborate on the myogenic potential of satellite cells. We then introduce definitions of adult stem-cell unipotency, multipotency and plasticity, and elaborate on recent studies that established the status of satellite cells as myogenic stem cells. Lastly, we highlight evidence in favor of satellite cell plasticity and emerging hurdles restraining this hypothesis.
Mesenchymal stem cell; myoblast; adipocyte; myogenesis; adipogenesis; osteogenesis; multipotential
Adult muscle satellite cells have a principal role in postnatal skeletal muscle growth and regeneration1. Satellite cells reside as quiescent cells underneath the basal lamina that surrounds muscle fibres2 and respond to damage by giving rise to transient amplifying cells (progenitors) and myoblasts that fuse with myofibres. Recent experiments showed that, in contrast to cultured myoblasts, satellite cells freshly isolated3–5 or satellite cells derived from the transplantation of one intact myofibre6 contribute robustly to muscle repair. However, because satellite cells are known to be heterogeneous4,6,7, clonal analysis is required to demonstrate stem cell function. Here we show that when a single luciferase-expressing muscle stem cell is transplanted into the muscle of mice it is capable of extensive proliferation, contributes to muscle fibres, and Pax7+luciferase+ mononucleated cells can be readily re-isolated, providing evidence of muscle stem cell self-renewal. In addition, we show using in vivo bioluminescence imaging that the dynamics of muscle stem cell behaviour during muscle repair can be followed in a manner not possible using traditional retrospective histological analyses. By imaging luciferase activity, real-time quantitative and kinetic analyses show that donor-derived muscle stem cells proliferate and engraft rapidly after injection until homeostasis is reached. On injury, donor-derived mononucleated cells generate massive waves of cell proliferation. Together, these results show that the progeny of a single luciferase-expressing muscle stem cell can both self-renew and differentiate after transplantation in mice, providing new evidence at the clonal level that self-renewal is an autonomous property of a single adult muscle stem cell.
Skeletal muscle is one of a several adult post-mitotic tissues that retain the capacity to regenerate. This relies on a population of quiescent precursors, termed satellite cells. Here we describe two novel markers of quiescent satellite cells: CD34, an established marker of hematopoietic stem cells, and Myf5, the earliest marker of myogenic commitment. CD34+ve myoblasts can be detected in proliferating C2C12 cultures. In differentiating cultures, CD34+ve cells do not fuse into myotubes, nor express MyoD. Using isolated myofibers as a model of synchronous precursor cell activation, we show that quiescent satellite cells express CD34. An early feature of their activation is alternate splicing followed by complete transcriptional shutdown of CD34. This data implicates CD34 in the maintenance of satellite cell quiescence.
In heterozygous Myf5nlacZ/+ mice, all CD34+ve satellite cells also express β-galactosidase, a marker of activation of Myf5, showing that quiescent satellite cells are committed to myogenesis. All such cells are positive for the accepted satellite cell marker, M-cadherin. We also show that satellite cells can be identified on isolated myofibers of the myosin light chain 3F-nlacZ-2E mouse as those that do not express the transgene. The numbers of satellite cells detected in this way are significantly greater than those identified by the other three markers.
We conclude that the expression of CD34, Myf5, and M-cadherin defines quiescent, committed precursors and speculate that the CD34−ve, Myf5−ve minority may be involved in maintaining the lineage-committed majority.
skeletal muscle; satellite cell; Myf5; CD34; MyoD
A new conditionally immortal satellite cell-derived cell-line, H2K 2B4, was generated from the H2Kb-tsA58 immortomouse. Under permissive conditions H2K 2B4 cells terminally differentiate in vitro to form uniform myotubes with a myogenic protein profile comparable with freshly isolated satellite cells. Following engraftment into immunodeficient dystrophin-deficient mice, H2K 2B4 cells regenerated host muscle with donor derived myofibres that persisted for at least 24 weeks, without forming tumours. These cells were readily transfectable using both retrovirus and the non-viral transfection methods and importantly upon transplantation, were able to reconstitute the satellite cell niche with functional donor derived satellite cells. Finally using the Class II DNA transposon, Sleeping Beauty, we successfully integrated a reporter plasmid into the genome of H2K 2B4 cells without hindering the myogenic differentiation. Overall, these data suggest that H2K 2B4 cells represent a readily transfectable stable cell-line in which to investigate future stem cell based therapies for muscle disease.
Skeletal muscle is formed during development by the progressive specification, proliferation, migration, and fusion of myoblasts to form terminally differentiated, contractile, highly patterned myofibers. Skeletal muscle is repaired or replaced postnatally by a similar process, involving a resident myogenic stem cell population referred to as satellite cells. In both cases, the activity of the myogenic precursor cells in question is regulated by local signals from the environment, frequently involving other, non-muscle cell types. However, while the majority of studies on muscle development were done in the context of the whole embryo, much of the current work on muscle satellite cells has been done in vitro, or on satellite cell-derived cell lines. While significant practical reasons for these approaches exist, it is almost certain that important influences from the context of the injured and regenerating muscle are lost, while potential tissue culture artifacts are introduced. This review will briefly address extracellular influences on satellite cells in vivo and in vitro that would be expected to impinge on their activity.
MUSCLE REGENERATION; SATELLITE CELLS; STEM CELLS
Satellite cells are myogenic cells found between the basal lamina and the sarcolemma of the muscle fibre. Satellite cells are the source of new myofibres; as such, satellite cell transplantation holds promise as a treatment for muscular dystrophies. We have investigated age and sex differences between mouse satellite cells in vitro and assessed the importance of these factors as mediators of donor cell engraftment in an in vivo model of satellite cell transplantation. We found that satellite cell numbers are increased in growing compared to adult and in male compared to female adult mice. We saw no difference in the expression of the myogenic regulatory factors between male and female mice, but distinct profiles were observed according to developmental stage. We show that, in contrast to adult mice, the majority of satellite cells from two week old mice are proliferating to facilitate myofibre growth; however a small proportion of these cells are quiescent and not contributing to this growth programme. Despite observed changes in satellite cell populations, there is no difference in engraftment efficiency either between satellite cells derived from adult or pre-weaned donor mice, male or female donor cells, or between male and female host muscle environments. We suggest there exist two distinct satellite cell populations: one for muscle growth and maintenance and one for muscle regeneration.
Satellite cells represent a heterogeneous population of stem and progenitor cells responsible for muscle growth, repair and regeneration. We investigated whether c-Myb could play a role in satellite cell biology because our previous results using satellite cell-derived mouse myoblast cell line C2C12 showed that c-Myb was expressed in growing cells and downregulated during differentiation. We detected c-Myb expression in activated satellite cells of regenerating muscle. c-Myb was also discovered in activated satellite cells associated with isolated viable myofiber and in descendants of activated satellite cells, proliferating myoblasts. However, no c-Myb expression was detected in multinucleated myotubes originated from fusing myoblasts. The constitutive expression of c-Myb lacking the 3′ untranslated region (3′ UTR) strongly inhibited the ability of myoblasts to fuse. The inhibition was dependent on intact c-Myb transactivation domain as myoblasts expressing mutated c-Myb in transactivation domain were able to fuse. The absence of 3′ UTR of c-Myb was also important because the expression of c-Myb coding region with its 3′ UTR did not inhibit myoblast fusion. The same results were repeated in C2C12 cells as well. Moreover, it was documented that 3′ UTR of c-Myb was responsible for downregulation of c-Myb protein levels in differentiating C2C12 cells. DNA microarray analysis of C2C12 cells revealed that the expression of several muscle-specific genes was downregulated during differentiation of c-Myb-expressing cells, namely: ACTN2, MYH8, TNNC2, MYOG, CKM and LRRN1. A detailed qRT-PCR analysis of MYOG, TNNC2 and LRRN1 is presented. Our findings thus indicate that c-Myb is involved in regulating the differentiation program of myogenic progenitor cells as its expression blocks myoblast fusion.
Satellite cells are recognized as the main source for myoblasts in postnatal muscle. The possible participation of other cell types in myofiber maintenance remains a subject of debate. Here, we investigated the potential of vascular preparations from mouse retina to undergo myogenesis when cultured alone or with differentiated primary myogenic cultures. The choice of retina, an organ richly supplied with capillary network and anatomically separated from skeletal muscles, ensures that the vasculature preparation is devoid of satellite cells. We demonstrate that retinal-derived cells spontaneously fuse with preexisting myotubes and contribute additional myonuclei, some of which initiate expression of muscle-specific genes after fusion. Myogenic differentiation of retinal cells prior to their fusion with preexisting myotubes was not detected. Although originating from vasculature preparations, nuclei undergoing myogenic reprogramming were contributed by cells that were neither endothelial nor blood borne. Our results suggest smooth muscle/pericytes as the possible source, and that myogenic reprogramming depends on the muscle specific transcription factor MyoD. Our studies provide insights into a novel avenue for myofiber maintenance, relying on nuclei of non-myogenic origin that undergo fusion and subsequent myogenic conversion within host myofibers. This process may support ongoing myofiber maintenance throughout life.
Retina; vasculature; endothelial cells; pericytes; skeletal muscle; myogenesis; satellite cells; Sca-1; MyoD; Myf5
M-cadherin is a classical calcium-dependent cell adhesion molecule that is highly expressed in developing skeletal muscle, satellite cells, and cerebellum. Based on its expression pattern and observations in cell culture, it has been postulated that M-cadherin may be important for the fusion of myoblasts to form myotubes, the correct localization and function of satellite cells during muscle regeneration, and the specialized architecture of adhering junctions in granule cells of cerebellar glomeruli. In order to investigate the potential roles of M-cadherin in vivo, we generated a null mutation in mice. Mutant mice were viable and fertile and showed no gross developmental defects. In particular, the skeletal musculature appeared essentially normal. Moreover, muscle lesions induced by necrosis were efficiently repaired in mutant mice, suggesting that satellite cells are present, can be activated, and are able to form new myofibers. This was also confirmed by normal growth and fusion potential of mutant satellite cells cultured in vitro. In the cerebellum of M-cadherin-lacking mutants, typical contactus adherens junctions were present and similar in size and numbers to the equivalent junctions in wild-type animals. However, the adhesion plaques in the cerebellum of these mutants appeared to contain elevated levels of N-cadherin compared to wild-type animals. Taken together, these observations suggest that M-cadherin in the mouse serves no absolutely required function during muscle development and regeneration and is not essential for the formation of specialized cell contacts in the cerebellum. It seems that N-cadherin or other cadherins can largely compensate for the lack of M-cadherin.
A general feature of stem cells is the ability to routinely proliferate in order to build, maintain, and repair organ systems. Accordingly, embryonic and germline, as well as some adult stem cells, produce the telomerase enzyme at various levels of expression. Our results show that, while muscle is a largely post-mitotic tissue, the muscle stem cells (satellite cells) that maintain this biological system throughout adult life do indeed display robust telomerase activity. Conversely, primary myoblasts (the immediate progeny of satellite cells) quickly and dramatically down-regulate telomerase activity. This work thus suggests that satellite cells, and early transient myoblasts, may be more promising therapeutic candidates for regenerative medicine than traditionally utilized myoblast cultures.
Muscle atrophy accompanies human aging, and satellite cells endogenous to aged muscle can be triggered to regenerate old tissue by exogenous molecular cues. Therefore, we also examined whether these aged muscle stem cells would produce tissue that is “young” with respect to telomere maintenance. Interestingly, this work shows that the telomerase activity in muscle stem cells is largely retained into old age wintin inbred “long” telomere mice and in wild-derived short telomere mouse strains, and that age-specific telomere shortening is undetectable in the old differentiated muscle fibers of either strain. Summarily, this work establishes that young and old muscle stem cells, but not necessarily their progeny, myoblasts, are likely to produce tissue with normal telomere maintenance when used in molecular and regenerative medicine approaches for tissue repair.
aging; muscle; satellite cell; myoblast; telomerase; telomere; tissue engineering
Satellite cells are resident skeletal muscle stem cells responsible for muscle maintenance and repair. In resting muscle, satellite cells are maintained in a quiescent state. Satellite cell activation induces the myogenic commitment factor, MyoD, and cell cycle entry to facilitate transition to a population of proliferating myoblasts that eventually exit the cycle and regenerate muscle tissue. The molecular mechanism involved in the transition of a quiescent satellite cell to a transit-amplifying myoblast is poorly understood.
Satellite cells isolated by FACS from uninjured skeletal muscle and 12 h post-muscle injury from wild type and Syndecan-4 null mice were probed using Affymetrix 430v2 gene chips and analyzed by Spotfiretm and Ingenuity Pathway analysis to identify gene expression changes and networks associated with satellite cell activation, respectively. Additional analyses of target genes identify miRNAs exhibiting dynamic changes in expression during satellite cell activation. The function of the miRNAs was assessed using miRIDIAN hairpin inhibitors.
An unbiased gene expression screen identified over 4,000 genes differentially expressed in satellite cells in vivo within 12 h following muscle damage and more than 50% of these decrease dramatically. RNA binding proteins and genes involved in post-transcriptional regulation were significantly over-represented whereas splicing factors were preferentially downregulated and mRNA stability genes preferentially upregulated. Furthermore, six computationally identified miRNAs demonstrated novel expression through muscle regeneration and in satellite cells. Three of the six miRNAs were found to regulate satellite cell fate.
The quiescent satellite cell is actively maintained in a state poised to activate in response to external signals. Satellite cell activation appears to be regulated by post-transcriptional gene regulation.
Satellite cell; RNA post-transcriptional regulation; microRNA.
Satellite cells, normally quiescent underneath the myofibre basal lamina, are skeletal muscle stem cells responsible for postnatal muscle growth, repair and regeneration. Since their scarcity and small size have limited study on transverse muscle sections, techniques to isolate individual myofibres, bearing their attendant satellite cells, were developed. Studies on mouse myofibres have generated much information on satellite cells, but the limited availability and small size of human muscle biopsies have hampered equivalent studies of satellite cells on human myofibres. Here, we identified satellite cells on fragments of human and mouse myofibres, using a method applicable to small muscle biopsies.
We evaluated the extent to which muscle-specific genes display identical patterns of mRNA accumulation during human myogenesis. Cloned satellite cells isolated from adult human skeletal muscle were expanded in culture, and RNA was isolated from low- and high-confluence cells and from fusing cultures over a 15-day time course. The accumulation of over 20 different transcripts was compared in these samples with that in fetal and adult human skeletal muscle. The expression of carbonic anhydrase 3, myoglobin, HSP83, and mRNAs encoding eight unknown proteins were examined in human myogenic cultures. In general, the expression of most of the mRNAs was induced after fusion to form myotubes. However, several exceptions, including carbonic anhydrase and myoglobin, showed no detectable expression in early myotubes. Comparison of all transcripts demonstrated little, if any, identity of mRNA accumulation patterns. Similar variability was also seen for mRNAs which were also expressed in nonmuscle cells. Accumulation of mRNAs encoding alpha-skeletal, alpha-cardiac, beta- and gamma-actin, total myosin heavy chain, and alpha- and beta-tubulin also displayed discordant regulation, which has important implications for sarcomere assembly. Cardiac actin was the only muscle-specific transcript that was detected in low-confluency cells and was the major alpha-actin mRNA at all times in fusing cultures. Skeletal actin was transiently induced in fusing cultures and then reduced by an order of magnitude. Total myosin heavy-chain mRNA accumulation lagged behind that of alpha-actin. Whereas beta- and gamma-actin displayed a sharp decrease after initiation of fusion and thereafter did not change, alpha- and beta-tubulin were transiently induced to a high level during the time course in culture. We conclude that each gene may have its own unique determinants of transcript accumulation and that the phenotype of a muscle may not be determined so much by which genes are active or silent but rather by the extent to which their transcript levels are modulated. Finally, we observed that patterns of transcript accumulation established within the myotube cultures were consistent with the hypothesis that myoblasts isolated from adult tissue recapitulate a myogenic developmental program. However, we also detected a transient appearance of adult skeletal muscle-specific transcripts in high-confluence myoblast cultures. This indicates that the initial differentiation of these myoblasts may reflect a more complex process than simple recapitulation of development.
An essential phase of skeletal myogenesis is the fusion of mononucleated myoblasts to form multinucleated myotubes. Many cell adhesion proteins, including integrins, have been shown to be important for myoblast fusion in vertebrates, but the mechanisms by which these proteins regulate cell fusion remain mostly unknown. Here, we focused on the role of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), an important nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinase involved in integrin signaling, as a potential mediator by which integrins may regulate myoblast fusion. To test this hypothesis in vivo, we generated mice in which the Fak gene was disrupted specifically in muscle stem cells (“satellite cells”) and we found that this resulted in impaired myotube formation during muscle regeneration after injury. To examine the role of FAK in the fusion of myogenic cells, we examined the expression of FAK and the effects of FAK deletion on the differentiation of myoblasts in vitro. Differentiation of mouse primary myoblasts was accompanied by a rapid and transient increase of phosphorylated FAK. To investigate the requirement of FAK in myoblast fusion, we used two loss-of-function approaches (a dominant-negative inhibitor of FAK and FAK small interfering RNA [siRNA]). Inhibition of FAK resulted in markedly impaired fusion but did not inhibit other biochemical measures of myogenic differentiation, suggesting a specific role of FAK in the morphological changes of cell fusion as part of the differentiation program. To examine the mechanisms by which FAK may be regulating fusion, we used microarray analysis to identify the genes that failed to be normally regulated in cells that were fusion defective due to FAK inhibition. Several genes that have been implicated in myoblast fusion were aberrantly regulated during differentiation when FAK was inhibited. Intriguingly, the normal increases in the transcript of caveolin 3 as well as an integrin subunit, the β1D isoform, were suppressed by FAK inhibition. We confirmed this also at the protein level and show that direct inhibition of β1D subunit expression by siRNA inhibited myotube formation with a prominent effect on secondary fusion. These data suggest that FAK regulation of profusion genes, including caveolin 3 and the β1D integrin subunit, is essential for morphological muscle differentiation.
Skeletal muscle is a highly specialized tissue composed of non-dividing, multi-nucleated muscle fibres that contract to generate force in a controlled and directed manner. Skeletal muscle is formed during embryogenesis from a subset of muscle precursor cells, which generate both differentiated muscle fibres and specialized muscle-forming stem cells known as satellite cells. Satellite cells remain associated with muscle fibres after birth and are responsible for muscle growth and repair throughout life. Failure in satellite cell function can lead to delayed, impaired or failed recovery after muscle injury, and such failures become increasingly prominent in cases of progressive muscle disease and in old age. Recent progress in the isolation of muscle satellite cells and elucidation of the cellular and molecular mediators controlling their activity indicate that these cells represent promising therapeutic targets. Such satellite cell-based therapies may involve either direct cell replacement or development of drugs that enhance endogenous muscle repair mechanisms. Here, we discuss recent breakthroughs in understanding both the cell intrinsic and extrinsic regulators that determine the formation and function of muscle satellite cells, as well as promising paths forward to realizing their full therapeutic potential.
satellite cell; muscular dystrophy; sarcopenia; muscle degeneration; myogenesis
Sulf1A expression, which is a characteristic of embryonic muscle, is undetectable in mature muscle fibres and quiescent satellite cells, but is re-activated in vivo upon injury and in vitro following activation of satellite cells. Sulf1A is known to enhance canonical Wnt signalling, and its association with Wnt1-induced satellite cell proliferation in vitro in the present study further confirmed this. However, exogenous Wnt6 decreased satellite cell proliferation but promoted the adoption of a hyper-elongated cell morphology in myoblasts on isolated single fibres in culture. Such Wnt6-induced cellular hyper-elongation and inhibition of proliferation was found to be dependent upon Sulf1A, as treatment with Sulf1A neutralising antibodies abolished both these effects. This indicates that Sulf1A can regulate Wnt6 signalling and cellular differentiation in skeletal muscle.
▸ Sulf1 regulates not only Wnt1 but also Wnt6 signalling. ▸ Wnt1 and Wnt6 play contrasting roles in skeletal muscle growth regulation. ▸ Reduction in Sulf1 activity level can reverse Wnt6-induced myogenic differentiation.
Wnt1; Wnt6; Sulf1; Satellite cells; Muscle growth
Satellite cells are skeletal muscle stem cells with a principal role in postnatal skeletal muscle regeneration. Satellite cells, like many tissue-specific adult stem cells, reside in a quiescent state in an instructive, anatomically defined niche. The satellite cell niche constitutes a distinct membrane-enclosed compartment within the muscle fiber, containing a diversity of biochemical and biophysical signals that influence satellite cell function. A major limitation to the study and clinical utility of satellite cells is that upon removal from the muscle fiber and plating in traditional plastic tissue culture platforms, their muscle stem cell properties are rapidly lost. Clearly, the maintenance of stem cell function is critically dependent on in vivo niche signals, highlighting the need to create novel in vitro microenvironments that allow for the maintenance and propagation of satellite cells while retaining their potential to function as muscle stem cells. Here, we discuss how emerging biomaterials technologies offer great promise for engineering in vitro microenvironments to meet these challenges. In engineered biomaterials, signaling molecules can be presented in a manner that more closely mimics cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions and matrices can be fabricated with diverse rigidities that approximate in vivo tissues. The development of in vitro microenvironments in which niche features can be systematically modulated will be instrumental not only to future insights into muscle stem cell biology and therapeutic approaches to muscle diseases and muscle wasting with aging, but also will provide a paradigm for the analysis of numerous adult tissue-specific stem cells.
Skeletal muscle stem cell; self-renewal; hydrogel; tethered ligand; matrix stiffness
Activation of adult myoblasts called satellite cells during muscle degeneration is an important aspect of muscle regeneration. Satellite cells are believed to be the only myogenic stem cells in adult skeletal muscle and the source of regenerating muscle fibers. Upon activation, satellite cells proliferate, migrate to the site of degeneration, and become competent to fuse and differentiate. We show here that the transcription factor polyomavirus enhancer activator 3 (PEA3) is expressed in adult myoblasts in vitro when they are proliferative and during the early stages of differentiation. Overexpression of PEA3 accelerates differentiation, whereas blocking of PEA3 function delays myoblast fusion. PEA3 activates gene expression following binding to the ets motif most efficiently in conjunction with the transcription factor myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2). In vivo, PEA3 is expressed in satellite cells only after muscle degeneration. Taken together, these results suggest that PEA3 is an important regulator of activated satellite cell function.
Studies using mouse models have established a critical role for resident satellite stem cells in skeletal muscle development and regeneration but little is known about this paradigm in human muscle. Here using human muscle stem cells, we address their lineage progression, differentiation, migration and self-renewal. Isolated human satellite cells expressed α7-integrin and other definitive muscle markers, were highly motile on laminin substrates, and could undergo efficient myotube differentiation and myofibrillogenesis. However, only a subpopulation of the myoblasts expressed Pax7 and displayed a variable lineage progression as measured by desmin and MyoD expression. Analysis identified a differentiation-resistant progenitor cell population that was Pax7+/desmin− and capable of self-renewal. This study extends our understanding of the role of pax7 in regulating human satellite stem cell differentiation and self renewal.
Muscle Stem Cell; Satellite Cell; Pax7; Myogenic Differentiation; Skeletal Muscle
We examined the expression and intracellular localization of vesicle-associated membrane protein 2 (VAMP2) during the differentiation of skeletal muscle cells by immunofluorescence microscopy. In isolated single myofibers, VAMP2 was expressed in quiescent satellite cells, downregulated in proliferating myoblastic cells, and re-expressed with differentiation. In the myoblastic cell line C2C12, VAMP2 was expressed at a low level in the proliferating stage, and then increased after differentiation into myotubes. Based on these results, we propose that VAMP2 can be used as a molecular marker for both quiescent satellite cells and myotubes, but not for proliferating myoblasts. We also found the partial colocalization of VAMP2 with transferrin- or Rab11-labeled vesicles in myotubes, suggesting a role of VAMP2 in the trafficking of recycling endosomes.
satellite cell; myotube; C2C12 cells; VAMP; SNARE
Satellite cells of adult muscle are quiescent myogenic stem cells that can be induced to enter the cell cycle by an extract of crushed muscle (Bischoff, R. 1986. Dev. Biol. 115:140-147). Here, evidence is presented that the extract acts transiently to commit cells to enter the cell cycle. Satellite cells associated with both live and killed rat myofibers in culture were briefly exposed to muscle extract and the increase in cell number was determined at 48 h in vitro, before the onset of fusion. An 8-12-h exposure to extract with killed, but not live, myofibers was sufficient to produce maximum proliferation of satellite cells. Continuous exposure for over 40 h was needed to sustain proliferation of satellite cells on live myofibers. The role of serum factors was also studied. Neither serum nor muscle extract alone was able to induce proliferation of satellite cells. In the presence of muscle extract, however, satellite cell proliferation was directly proportional to the concentration of serum in the medium. These results suggest that mitogens released from crushed muscle produce long-lasting effects that commit quiescent satellite cells to divide, whereas serum factors are needed to maintain progression through the cell cycle. Contact with a viable myofiber modulates the response of satellite cells to growth factors.
The mechanism of skeletal myoblast fusion is not well understood. We show that endogenous nitric oxide (NO) generation is required for myoblast fusion both in embryonic myoblasts and in satellite cells. The effect of NO is concentration and time dependent, being evident only at the onset of differentiation, and direct on the fusion process itself. The action of NO is mediated through a tightly regulated activation of guanylate cyclase and generation of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), so much so that deregulation of cGMP signaling leads to a fusion-induced hypertrophy of satellite-derived myotubes and embryonic muscles, and to the acquisition of fusion competence by myogenic precursors in the presomitic mesoderm. NO and cGMP induce expression of follistatin, and this secreted protein mediates their action in myogenesis. These results establish a hitherto unappreciated role of NO and cGMP in regulating myoblast fusion and elucidate their mechanism of action, providing a direct link with follistatin, which is a key player in myogenesis.
Skeletal myoblasts grown in vitro and induced to differentiate either form differentiated multinucleated myotubes or give rise to quiescent, undifferentiated “reserve cells” that share several characteristics with muscle satellite cells. The mechanism of determination of reserve cells is poorly understood. We find that the expression level of the metalloprotease disintegrin ADAM12 is much higher in proliferating C2C12 myoblasts and in reserve cells than in myotubes. Inhibition of ADAM12 expression in differentiating C2C12 cultures by small interfering RNA is accompanied by lower expression levels of both quiescence markers (retinoblastoma-related protein p130 and cell cycle inhibitor p27) and differentiation markers (myogenin and integrin α7A isoform). Overexpression of ADAM12 in C2C12 cells under conditions that promote cell cycle progression leads to upregulation of p130 and p27, cell cycle arrest, and downregulation of MyoD. Thus, enhanced expression of ADAM12 induces a quiescence-like phenotype and does not stimulate differentiation. We also show that the region extending from the disintegrin to the transmembrane domain of ADAM12 and containing cell adhesion activity as well as the cytoplasmic domain of ADAM12 are required for ADAM12-mediated cell cycle arrest, while the metalloprotease domain is not essential. Our results suggest that ADAM12-mediated adhesion and/or signaling may play a role in determination of the pool of reserve cells during myoblast differentiation.
The accumulation of two myogenic regulatory proteins, MyoD and myogenin, was investigated by double-immunocytochemistry and correlated with myosin heavy chain expression in different classes of myoblasts in culture and during early myogenesis in vivo. During in vitro differentiation of fetal myoblasts, MyoD-positive cells were detected first, followed by the appearance of cells positive for both MyoD and myogenin and finally by the appearance of differentiated myocytes and myotubes expressing myosin heavy chain (MHC). A similar pattern of expression was observed in cultures of embryonic and satellite cells. In contrast, most myogenic cells isolated from newly formed somites, expressed MHC in the absence of detectable levels of myogenin or MyoD. In vivo, the appearance of both myogenin and MyoD proteins was only detected at 10.5 d postcoitum (d.p.c.), when terminally differentiated muscle cells could already be identified in the myotome. Parasagittal sections of the caudal myotomes of 10.5-d-old embryos showed that expression of contractile proteins preceded the expression of myogenin or MyoD and, when coexpressed, MHC and myogenin did not co-localize within all the cells of the myotome. In the limb bud, however, many myogenin (or MyoD) positive/MHC negative cells could be observed in the proximal region at day 11. During further embryonic development the expression of these proteins remained constant in all the muscle anlagens examined, decreasing to a low level during the late fetal period. Western and Northern analysis confirmed that the myogenin protein could only be detected after 10.5 d.p.c. while the corresponding message was clearly present at 9.5 d.p.c., strongly suggesting a posttranscriptional regulation of myogenin during this stage of embryonic development. These data show that the first myogenic cells which appear in the mouse myotome, and can be cultured from it, accumulate muscle structural proteins in their cytoplasm without expressing detectable levels of myogenin protein (although the message is clearly accumulated). Neither MyoD message or protein are detectable in these cells, which may represent a distinct myogenic population whose role in development remains to be established.
The goal of regenerative medicine is to restore form and function to damaged and aging tissues. Adult stem cells, present in tissues such as skeletal muscle, comprise a reservoir of cells with a remarkable capacity to proliferate and repair tissue damage. Muscle stem cells, known as satellite cells, reside in a quiescent state in an anatomically distinct compartment, or niche, ensheathed between the membrane of the myofiber and the basal lamina. Recently, procedures for isolating satellite cells were developed and experiments testing their function upon transplantation into muscles revealed an extraordinary potential to contribute to muscle fibers and access and replenish the satellite cell compartment. However, these properties are rapidly lost once satellite cells are plated in culture. Accordingly, elucidating the role of extrinsic factors in controlling muscle stem cell fate, in particular self-renewal, is critical. Through careful design of bioengineered culture platforms, analysis of specific proteins presented to stem cells is possible. Critical to the success of the approach is single cell analysis, as more rapidly proliferating progenitors may mask the behavior of stem cells that proliferate slowly. Bioengineering approaches provide a potent means of gaining insight into the role of extrinsic factors in the stem cell microenvironment on stem cell function and the mechanisms that control their diverse fates. Ultimately, the multidisciplinary approach presented here will lead to novel therapeutic strategies for degenerative diseases.