An artificial niche preserves the quiescence of muscle stem cells and enhances their therapeutic efficacy.
ABSTRACT: A promising therapeutic strategy for diverse genetic disorders involves transplantation of autologous stem cells that have been genetically corrected ex vivo. A major challenge in such approaches is a loss of stem cell potency during culture. Here we describe an artificial niche for maintaining muscle stem cells (MuSCs) in vitro in a potent, quiescent state. Using a machine learning method, we identified a molecular signature of quiescence and used it to screen for factors that could maintain mouse MuSC quiescence, thus defining a quiescence medium (QM). We also engineered muscle fibers that mimic the native myofiber of the MuSC niche. Mouse MuSCs maintained in QM on engineered fibers showed enhanced potential for engraftment, tissue regeneration and self-renewal after transplantation in mice. An artificial niche adapted to human cells similarly extended the quiescence of human MuSCs in vitro and enhanced their potency in vivo. Our approach for maintaining quiescence may be applicable to stem cells isolated from other tissues.
Project description:Skeletal muscle is a complex tissue containing tissue resident muscle stem cells (satellite cells) (MuSCs) important for postnatal muscle growth and regeneration. Quantitative analysis of the biological function of MuSCs and the molecular pathways responsible for a potential juxtavascular niche for MuSCs is currently lacking. We utilized fluorescent reporter mice and muscle tissue clearing to investigate the proximity of MuSCs to capillaries in 3 dimensions. We show that MuSCs express abundant VEGFA, which recruits endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro, whereas blocking VEGFA using both a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor and MuSC-specific VEGFA gene deletion reduces the proximity of MuSCs to capillaries. Importantly, this proximity to the blood vessels was associated with MuSC self-renewal in which the EC-derived Notch ligand Dll4 induces quiescence in MuSCs. We hypothesize that MuSCs recruit capillary ECs via VEGFA, and in return, ECs maintain MuSC quiescence though Dll4.
Project description:Control of stem cell fate to either enter terminal differentiation versus returning to quiescence (self-renewal) is crucial for tissue repair. Here, we showed that AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), the master metabolic regulator of the cell, controls muscle stem cell (MuSC) self-renewal. AMPK?1-/- MuSCs displayed a high self-renewal rate, which impairs muscle regeneration. AMPK?1-/- MuSCs showed a Warburg-like switch of their metabolism to higher glycolysis. We identified lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) as a new functional target of AMPK?1. LDH, which is a non-limiting enzyme of glycolysis in differentiated cells, was tightly regulated in stem cells. In functional experiments, LDH overexpression phenocopied AMPK?1-/- phenotype, that is shifted MuSC metabolism toward glycolysis triggering their return to quiescence, while inhibition of LDH activity rescued AMPK?1-/- MuSC self-renewal. Finally, providing specific nutrients (galactose/glucose) to MuSCs directly controlled their fate through the AMPK?1/LDH pathway, emphasizing the importance of metabolism in stem cell fate.
Project description:Muscle undergoes progressive weakening and regenerative dysfunction with age due in part to the functional decline of skeletal muscle stem cells (MuSCs). MuSCs are heterogeneous but whether their gene expression changes with age and the implication of such changes are unclear. Here we show that in mice, Growth arrest-specific gene 1 (Gas1) is expressed in a small subset of young MuSCs with its expression progressively increasing in larger fractions of MuSCs later in life. Over-expression of Gas1 in young MuSCs and inactivation of Gas1 in aged MuSCs support that Gas1 reduces the quiescence and self-renewal capacity of MuSCs. Gas1 reduces Ret signaling, which is required for MuSC quiescence and self-renewal. Indeed, we show that the Ret ligand, Glial Cell-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF), can counteract Gas1 by stimulating Ret signaling and enhancing MuSC self-renewal and regeneration, thus improving muscle function. We propose that strategies aimed to target this pathway can be exploited to improve the regenerative decline of muscle stem cells.
Project description:The balance between stem cell quiescence and proliferation in skeletal muscle is tightly controlled, but perturbed in a variety of disease states. Despite progress in identifying activators of stem cell proliferation, the niche factor(s) responsible for quiescence induction remain unclear. Here we report an in vivo imaging-based screen which identifies Oncostatin M (OSM), a member of the interleukin-6 family of cytokines, as a potent inducer of muscle stem cell (MuSC, satellite cell) quiescence. OSM is produced by muscle fibers, induces reversible MuSC cell cycle exit, and maintains stem cell regenerative capacity as judged by serial transplantation. Conditional OSM receptor deletion in satellite cells leads to stem cell depletion and impaired regeneration following injury. These results identify Oncostatin M as a secreted niche factor responsible for quiescence induction, and for the first time establish a direct connection between induction of quiescence, stemness, and transplantation potential in solid organ stem cells.
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:Aging impairs tissue repair. This is pronounced in skeletal muscle, whose regeneration by muscle stem cells (MuSCs) is robust in young adult animals but inefficient in older organisms. Despite this functional decline, old MuSCs are amenable to rejuvenation through strategies that improve the systemic milieu, such as heterochronic parabiosis. One such strategy, exercise, has long been appreciated for its benefits on healthspan, but its effects on aged stem cell function in the context of tissue regeneration are incompletely understood. Here we show that exercise in the form of voluntary wheel running accelerates muscle repair in old animals and improves old MuSC function. Through transcriptional profiling and genetic studies, we discovered that the restoration of old MuSC activation ability hinges on restoration of Cyclin D1, whose expression declines with age in MuSCs. Pharmacologic studies revealed that Cyclin D1 maintains MuSC activation capacity by repressing TGF? signaling. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that voluntary exercise is a practicable intervention for old MuSC rejuvenation. Furthermore, this work highlights the distinct role of Cyclin D1 in stem cell quiescence.
Project description:Growth and maintenance of skeletal muscle fibres depend on coordinated activation and return to quiescence of resident muscle stem cells (MuSCs). The transcription factor Myogenin (Myog) regulates myocyte fusion during development, but its role in adult myogenesis remains unclear. In contrast to mice, myog-/-zebrafish are viable, but have hypotrophic muscles. By isolating adult myofibres with associated MuSCs, we found that myog-/- myofibres have severely reduced nuclear number, but increased myonuclear domain size. Expression of fusogenic genes is decreased, Pax7 upregulated, MuSCs are fivefold more numerous and mis-positioned throughout the length of myog-/-myofibres instead of localising at myofibre ends as in wild-type. Loss of Myog dysregulates mTORC1 signalling, resulting in an 'alerted' state of MuSCs, which display precocious activation and faster cell cycle entry ex vivo, concomitant with myod upregulation. Thus, beyond controlling myocyte fusion, Myog influences the MuSC:niche relationship, demonstrating a multi-level contribution to muscle homeostasis throughout life.
Project description:Muscle stem cells (MuSCs) persist in a quiescent state and activate in response to specific stimuli. The quiescent state is both actively maintained and dynamically regulated. However, analyses of quiescence have come primarily from cells removed from their niche. Although these cells are still quiescent, biochemical changes certainly occur during the isolation process. Here, we analyze the transcriptome of MuSCs in vivo utilizing MuSC-specific labeling of RNA. Notably, labeling transcripts during the isolation procedure revealed very active transcription of specific subsets of genes. However, using the transcription inhibitor ?-amanitin, we show that the ex vivo transcriptome remains largely reflective of the in vivo transcriptome. Together, these data provide perspective on the molecular regulation of the quiescent state at the transcriptional level, demonstrate the utility of these tools for probing transcriptional dynamics in vivo, and provide an invaluable resource for understanding stem cell state transitions.
Project description:Muscle stem cells (MuSCs) exhibit distinct behavior during successive phases of developmental myogenesis. However, how their transition to adulthood is regulated is poorly understood. Here, we show that fetal MuSCs resist progenitor specification and exhibit altered division dynamics, intrinsic features that are progressively lost postnatally. After transplantation, fetal MuSCs expand more efficiently and contribute to muscle repair. Conversely, niche colonization efficiency increases in adulthood, indicating a balance between muscle growth and stem cell pool repopulation. Gene expression profiling identified several extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules preferentially expressed in fetal MuSCs, including tenascin-C, fibronectin, and collagen VI. Loss-of-function experiments confirmed their essential and stage-specific role in regulating MuSC function. Finally, fetal-derived paracrine factors were able to enhance adult MuSC regenerative potential. Together, these findings demonstrate that MuSCs change the way in which they remodel their microenvironment to direct stem cell behavior and support the unique demands of muscle development or repair.
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.