Mechanism for regulation of growth and differentiation of adult muscle stem cells is revealed

Dec 07, 2007

During muscle regeneration, which is a natural response to injury and disease, environmental cues cause adult muscle stem cells (satellite cells) to shift from dormancy to actively building new muscle tissue.

Although the signaling pathways controlling muscle regeneration are fairly well known, how these signals lead to altered chromatin structure remains undiscovered. A group of scientists at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in La Jolla, CA, analyzed the mechanism by which certain cellular signaling cues cause epigenetic modifications when released within the regenerative microenvironment, thus controlling the expression of genes that regulate growth and differentiation of muscle stem cells that repair injured muscle.

In a recent publication in Molecular Cell, the scientific group, led by Pier Lorenzo Puri, MD, Ph.D., shows how two signaling pathways, PI3K/AKT and p38, work together to assemble components of the protein complexes responsible for muscle-specific transcription, and how each pathway is responsible for a distinct step in the transcription process.

Additionally, the team was able to pharmacologically separate these two steps, showing that selective interference with either cascade leads to incomplete assembly of protein complexes, thus preventing muscle-specific gene expression. The results point to possible pharmacological avenues for selective control of gene expression in adult muscle stem cells that may have therapeutic potential in regenerative medicine.

Source: Burnham Institute

Explore further: Scottish zoo: 'Bad news' for pregnant giant panda

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Venom gets good buzz as potential cancer-fighter

Aug 11, 2014

Bee, snake or scorpion venom could form the basis of a new generation of cancer-fighting drugs, scientists will report here today. They have devised a method for targeting venom proteins specifically to malignant cells while ...

An embryonic cell's fate is sealed by the speed of a signal

Aug 04, 2014

When embryonic cells get the signal to specialize the call can come quickly. Or it can arrive slowly. Now, new research from Rockefeller University suggests the speed at which a cell in an embryo receives that signal has ...

Recommended for you

DNA may have had humble beginnings as nutrient carrier

8 hours ago

New research intriguingly suggests that DNA, the genetic information carrier for humans and other complex life, might have had a rather humbler origin. In some microbes, a study shows, DNA pulls double duty ...

Central biobank for drug research

8 hours ago

For the development of new drugs it is crucial to work with stem cells, as these allow scientists to study the effects of new active pharmaceutical ingredients. But it has always been difficult to derive ...

User comments : 0