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At the right place at the right time: New insights into muscle stem cells

Date:
September 17, 2012
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Muscles have a pool of stem cells in special niches which provides a source for muscle growth and for the regeneration of injured muscles. Researchers have elucidated how these stem cells colonize these niches. They also show that the stem cells weaken when, due to a mutation, they locate outside of the muscle fibers.

Muscles have a pool of stem cells which provides a source for muscle growth and for regeneration of injured muscles. The stem cells must reside in special niches of the muscle for efficient growth and repair. The developmental biologists Dr. Dominique Bröhl and Prof. Carmen Birchmeier of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch have elucidated how these stem cells colonize these niches. At the same time, they show that the stem cells weaken when, due to a mutation, they locate outside of the muscle fibers instead of in their stem cell niches.

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Muscle stem cells, also called satellite cells, colonize a niche that is located between the plasma membrane of the muscle cell and the surrounding basal lamina. Already in newborns these niches contain satellite cells from which both muscle cells and new stem cells can be generated.

Weakened stem cells

In the present study Dr. Bröhl and Professor Birchmeier showed that mouse muscle progenitor cells lacking components of the Notch signaling pathway cannot colonize their niche. Instead the muscle progenitor cells locate in tissue between the muscle fibers. The developmental biologists view this as the cause for the weakening of the muscles. The stem cells that are "in the wrong place" are no longer as potent as they originally were and hardly contribute to muscle growth.

In addition, the Notch signaling pathway has a second function in muscle development. It prevents the differentiation of stem cells into muscle cells through suppression of the muscle developmental factor MyoD and thus ensures that there will always be a pool of stem cells for muscle repair and regeneration. In the future this work could gain in importance for research on muscle regeneration and muscle weakness.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dominique Bröhl, Elena Vasyutina, Maciej T. Czajkowski, Joscha Griger, Claudia Rassek, Hans-Peter Rahn, Bettina Purfürst, Hagen Wende, Carmen Birchmeier. Colonization of the Satellite Cell Niche by Skeletal Muscle Progenitor Cells Depends on Notch Signals. Developmental Cell, 2012; 23 (3): 469 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2012.07.014

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "At the right place at the right time: New insights into muscle stem cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917123133.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2012, September 17). At the right place at the right time: New insights into muscle stem cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917123133.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "At the right place at the right time: New insights into muscle stem cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120917123133.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

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