Isolation of skeletal muscle stem cells by fluorescence-activated cell sorting.
ABSTRACT: The prospective isolation of purified stem cell populations has dramatically altered the field of stem cell biology, and it has been a major focus of research across tissues in different organisms. Muscle stem cells (MuSCs) are now among the most intensely studied stem cell populations in mammalian systems, and the prospective isolation of these cells has allowed cellular and molecular characterizations that were not dreamed of a decade ago. In this protocol, we describe how to isolate MuSCs from limb muscles of adult mice by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). We provide a detailed description of the physical and enzymatic dissociation of mononucleated cells from limb muscles, a procedure that is essential in order to maximize cell yield. We also describe a FACS-based method that is used subsequently to obtain highly pure populations of either quiescent or activated MuSCs (VCAM(+)CD31(-)CD45(-)Sca1(-)). The isolation process takes ?5-6 h to complete. The protocol also allows for the isolation of endothelial cells, hematopoietic cells and mesenchymal stem cells from muscle tissue.
Project description:Adult skeletal muscles are maintained during homeostasis and regenerated upon injury by muscle stem cells (MuSCs). A heterogeneity in self-renewal, differentiation and regeneration properties has been reported for MuSCs based on their anatomical location. Although MuSCs derived from extraocular muscles (EOM) have a higher regenerative capacity than those derived from limb muscles, the molecular determinants that govern these differences remain undefined. Here we show that EOM and limb MuSCs have distinct DNA methylation signatures associated with enhancers of location-specific genes, and that the EOM transcriptome is reprogrammed following transplantation into a limb muscle environment. Notably, EOM MuSCs expressed host-site specific positional Hox codes after engraftment and self-renewal within the host muscle. However, about 10% of EOM-specific genes showed engraftment-resistant expression, pointing to cell-intrinsic molecular determinants of the higher engraftment potential of EOM MuSCs. Our results underscore the molecular diversity of distinct MuSC populations and molecularly define their plasticity in response to microenvironmental cues. These findings provide insights into strategies designed to improve the functional capacity of MuSCs in the context of regenerative medicine.
Project description:Pax7 is a transcription factor involved in the specification and maintenance of muscle stem cells (MuSCs). Upon injury, MuSCs leave their quiescent state, downregulate Pax7 and differentiate, contributing to skeletal muscle regeneration. In the majority of regeneration studies, MuSCs are isolated by fluorescence-activated sorting (FACS), based on cell surface markers. It is known that MuSCs are a heterogeneous population and only a small percentage of isolated cells are true stem cells that are able to self-renew. A strong Pax7 reporter line would be valuable to study the in vivo behavior of Pax7-expressing stem cells.We generated and characterized the muscle properties of a new transgenic Pax7EGFP mouse. Utilizing traditional immunofluorescence assays, we analyzed whole embryos and muscle sections by fluorescence microscopy, in addition to whole skeletal muscles by 2-photon microscopy, to detect the specificity of EGFP expression. Skeletal muscles from Pax7EGFP mice were also evaluated in steady state and under injury conditions. Finally, MuSCs-derived from Pax7EGFP and control mice were sorted and analyzed by FACS and their myogenic activity was comparatively examined.Our studies provide a new Pax7 reporter line with robust EGFP expression, detectable by both flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. Pax7EGFP-derived MuSCs have identical properties to that of wild-type MuSCs, both in vitro and in vivo, excluding any positional effect due to the transgene insertion. Furthermore, we demonstrated high specificity of EGFP to label MuSCs in a temporal manner that recapitulates the reported Pax7 expression pattern. Interestingly, immunofluorescence analysis showed that the robust expression of EGFP marks cells in the satellite cell position of adult muscles in fixed and live tissues.This mouse could be an invaluable tool for the study of a variety of questions related to MuSC biology, including but not limited to population heterogeneity, polarity, aging, regeneration, and motility, either by itself or in combination with mice harboring additional genetic alterations.
Project description:Muscle stem cells (MuSCs) contribute to muscle regeneration following injury. In many muscle disorders, the repeated cycles of damage and repair lead to stem cell dysfunction. While telomere attrition may contribute to aberrant stem cell functions, methods to accurately measure telomere length in stem cells from skeletal muscles have not been demonstrated. Here, we have optimized and validated such a method, named MuQ-FISH, for analyzing telomere length in MuSCs from either mice or humans. Our analysis showed no differences in telomere length between young and aged MuSCs from uninjured wild-type mice, but MuSCs isolated from young dystrophic mice exhibited significantly shortened telomeres. In corroboration, we demonstrated that telomere attrition is present in human dystrophic MuSCs, which underscores its importance in diseased regenerative failure. The robust technique described herein provides analysis at a single-cell resolution and may be utilized for other cell types, especially rare populations of cells.
Project description:Muscle stem cells (MuSCs) are involved in homeostatic maintenance of skeletal muscle and play a central role in muscle regeneration in response to injury. Thus, understanding MuSC autonomous properties is of fundamental importance for studies of muscle degenerative diseases and muscle plasticity. Rat, as an animal model, has been widely used in the skeletal muscle field, however rat MuSC isolation through fluorescence-activated cell sorting has never been described. This work validates a protocol for effective MuSC isolation from rat skeletal muscles. Tibialis anterior was harvested from female rats and digested for isolation of MuSCs. Three protocols, employing different cell surface markers (CD106, CD56, and CD29), were compared for their ability to isolate a highly enriched MuSC population. Cells isolated using only CD106 as a positive marker showed high expression of Pax7, ability to progress through myogenic lineage while in culture, and complete differentiation in serum-deprived conditions. The protocol was further validated in gastrocnemius, diaphragm, and the individual components of the pelvic floor muscle complex (coccygeus, iliocaudalis, and pubocaudalis), proving to be reproducible. CD106 is an efficient marker for reliable isolation of MuSCs from a variety of rat skeletal muscles.
Project description:Dedicated stem cells ensure postnatal growth, repair and homeostasis of skeletal muscle. Following injury, muscle stem cells (MuSCs) exit from quiescence and divide to reconstitute the stem cell pool and give rise to muscle progenitors. The transcriptomes of pooled MuSCs have provided a rich source of information for describing the genetic programs of distinct static cell states; however, bulk microarray and RNA sequencing provide only averaged gene expression profiles, blurring the heterogeneity and developmental dynamics of asynchronous MuSC populations. Instead, the granularity required to identify distinct cell types, states, and their dynamics can be afforded by single cell analysis. We were able to compare the transcriptomes of thousands of MuSCs and primary myoblasts isolated from homeostatic or regenerating muscles by single cell RNA sequencing. Using computational approaches, we could reconstruct dynamic trajectories and place, in a pseudotemporal manner, the transcriptomes of individual MuSC within these trajectories. This approach allowed for the identification of distinct clusters of MuSCs and primary myoblasts with partially overlapping but distinct transcriptional signatures, as well as the description of metabolic pathways associated with defined MuSC states.
Project description:Somatic stem cells expand massively during tissue regeneration, which might require control of cell fitness, allowing elimination of non-competitive, potentially harmful cells. How or if such cells are removed to restore organ function is not fully understood. Here, we show that a substantial fraction of muscle stem cells (MuSCs) undergo necroptosis because of epigenetic rewiring during chronic skeletal muscle regeneration, which is required for efficient regeneration of dystrophic muscles. Inhibition of necroptosis strongly enhances suppression of MuSC expansion in a non-cell-autonomous manner. Prevention of necroptosis in MuSCs of healthy muscles is mediated by the chromatin remodeler CHD4, which directly represses the necroptotic effector Ripk3, while CHD4-dependent Ripk3 repression is dramatically attenuated in dystrophic muscles. Loss of Ripk3 repression by inactivation of Chd4 causes massive necroptosis of MuSCs, abolishing regeneration. Our study demonstrates how programmed cell death in MuSCs is tightly controlled to achieve optimal tissue regeneration.
Project description:Adult stem cells are essential for tissue homeostasis. In skeletal muscle, muscle stem cells (MuSCs) reside in a quiescent state, but little is known about the mechanisms that control homeostatic turnover. Here we show that, in mice, the variation in MuSC activation rate among different muscles (for example, limb versus diaphragm muscles) is determined by the levels of the transcription factor Pax3. We further show that Pax3 levels are controlled by alternative polyadenylation of its transcript, which is regulated by the small nucleolar RNA U1. Isoforms of the Pax3 messenger RNA that differ in their 3' untranslated regions are differentially susceptible to regulation by microRNA miR206, which results in varying levels of the Pax3 protein in vivo. These findings highlight a previously unrecognized mechanism of the homeostatic regulation of stem cell fate by multiple RNA species.
Project description:Tissue renewal and muscle regeneration largely rely on the proliferation and differentiation of muscle stem cells called muscular satellite cells (MuSCs). MuSCs are normally quiescent, but they are activated in response to various stimuli, such as inflammation. Activated MuSCs proliferate, migrate, differentiate, and fuse to form multinucleate myofibers. Meanwhile, inappropriate cues for MuSC activation induce premature differentiation and bring about stem cell loss. Recent studies revealed that stem cell regulation is disrupted in various aged tissues. We found that the expression of microRNA (miR)-155, which is an inflammation-associated miR, is upregulated in MuSCs of aged muscles, and this upregulation activates the differentiation process through suppression of C/ebp?, which is an important molecule for maintaining MuSC self-renewal. We also found that Notch1 considerably repressed miR-155 expression, and loss of Notch1 induced miR-155 overexpression. Our findings suggest that miR-155 can act as an activator of muscular differentiation and might be responsible for accelerating aging-associated premature differentiation of MuSCs.
Project description:The elderly often suffer from progressive muscle weakness and regenerative failure. We demonstrate that muscle regeneration is impaired with aging owing in part to a cell-autonomous functional decline in skeletal muscle stem cells (MuSCs). Two-thirds of MuSCs from aged mice are intrinsically defective relative to MuSCs from young mice, with reduced capacity to repair myofibers and repopulate the stem cell reservoir in vivo following transplantation. This deficiency is correlated with a higher incidence of cells that express senescence markers and is due to elevated activity of the p38? and p38? mitogen-activated kinase pathway. We show that these limitations cannot be overcome by transplantation into the microenvironment of young recipient muscles. In contrast, subjecting the MuSC population from aged mice to transient inhibition of p38? and p38? in conjunction with culture on soft hydrogel substrates rapidly expands the residual functional MuSC population from aged mice, rejuvenating its potential for regeneration and serial transplantation as well as strengthening of damaged muscles of aged mice. These findings reveal a synergy between biophysical and biochemical cues that provides a paradigm for a localized autologous muscle stem cell therapy for the elderly.
Project description:Age-related changes in the niche have long been postulated to impair the function of somatic stem cells. Here we demonstrate that the aged stem cell niche in skeletal muscle contains substantially reduced levels of fibronectin (FN), leading to detrimental consequences for the function and maintenance of muscle stem cells (MuSCs). Deletion of the gene encoding FN from young regenerating muscles replicates the aging phenotype and leads to a loss of MuSC numbers. By using an extracellular matrix (ECM) library screen and pathway profiling, we characterize FN as a preferred adhesion substrate for MuSCs and demonstrate that integrin-mediated signaling through focal adhesion kinase and the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway is strongly de-regulated in MuSCs from aged mice because of insufficient attachment to the niche. Reconstitution of FN levels in the aged niche remobilizes stem cells and restores youth-like muscle regeneration. Taken together, we identify the loss of stem cell adhesion to FN in the niche ECM as a previously unknown aging mechanism.